(AFP) – Jan 24, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States has no interest in setting up permanent bases in Iraq, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
Gates sought to dismiss concerns among critics that a planned US military accord with Iraq would tie the hands of future US presidents regarding the mandate of US troops in the war-torn country and create permanent US bases there.
"I think it is pretty clear that such an agreement would not talk about force levels. It would not involve -- we have no interest in permanent bases," he told reporters.
The US defense chief also insisted that discussions had just barely started on the on the still-to-be-negotiated Status of Forces Agreement.
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