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Archive for Thursday, October 30, 2008

Iraq outlines changes wanted in pact with US

October 30, 2008

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— Iraq wants a security agreement with the U.S. to include a clear ban on U.S. troops using Iraqi territory to attack Iraq's neighbors, the government spokesman said Wednesday, three days after a dramatic U.S. raid on Syria.

Also Wednesday, the country's most influential Shiite cleric expressed concern that Iraqi sovereignty be protected in the pact. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani wields vast influence among the Shiite majority and his explicit opposition could scuttle the deal.

Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the ban was among four proposed amendments to the draft agreement approved by the Cabinet this week and forwarded to the U.S.

President Bush said Wednesday that negotiators were analyzing the Iraqis' proposed amendments to the so-called Status of Forces Agreement.

Al-Dabbagh said the Iraqis want the right to declare the agreement null and void if the U.S. unilaterally attacks one of Iraq's neighbors.

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