Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Monday that the government is ready to compromise to reach a security accord with the United States because Iraq still needs American troops despite the drop in violence.
In an interview with The Associated Press, al-Maliki said neither he nor Iraq's parliament will accept any pact that fails to serve the country's national interests. A poorly constructed plan would provoke so much discord in Iraq that it could threaten his government's survival, he said.
Al-Maliki said, however, that he is firmly committed to reaching an accord that would allow U.S. troops to remain in the country beyond next year.
Supporters of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr oppose the accord, arguing U.S. forces should leave Iraq as soon as possible. Neighboring Iran also has been speaking out vociferously against a long-term U.S. presence in Iraq.