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FACTDROP: US military denies decision to quit Iraq after 2011
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10/16/2011

US military denies decision to quit Iraq after 2011

US is eying ‘robust security relationship’ with Iraq

Πηγή: Middle East Online
Oct 16 2011

Pentagon denies US military has given up on plans to keep several thousand troops in Iraq after a year-end deadline.
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon denied reports Saturday that the US military has given up on plans to keep several thousand troops in Iraq after a year-end deadline, saying talks with Baghdad were still underway.

US and Iraq officials have been negotiating a possible American military training mission of about 4,000 troops after 2011, but a dispute over legal protections for the US forces has jeopardized the security agreement.

The Associated Press, citing unnamed officials, reported that Washington had abandoned the plan for a contingent of several thousand troops and instead would have only a small team of 160 attached to the embassy in Baghdad.

In a statement to reporters, Pentagon press secretary George Little denied the negotiations had collapsed, saying the Obama administration had not made any decisions on a future mission.

"Suggestions that a final decision has been reached about our training relationship with the Iraqi government are wrong. Those discussions are ongoing," Little said.

The United States wanted to build a "robust security relationship" with Iraq and the talks with Baghdad were focused on the "nature of that relationship," he added.

Recent comments from Iraqi and US leaders have exposed a rift over legal protections for American troops, with US officials insisting their soldiers must be shielded from Iraqi prosecutions.


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