(AFP) – Oct 31, 2008
BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Friday he will submit the text of the controversial security pact with the United States to all of his country's neighbours.
He would do so after Baghdad receives a US reply to five proposed amendments made by Iraq, a statement from his office said.
Maliki "will dispatch delegations to Iraq's neighbours, including Turkey, to show them the security agreement after receiving the American replies to the proposed modifications," he was quoted as telling Turkish President Abdullah Gul in a telephone conversation.
On Wednesday, US President George W. Bush promised to consider Baghdad's proposed changes to the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) but warned against shifts that risked "undermining" the accord.
The controversial deal, which negotiators have laboured over for months, is supposed to be in place by the end of the year to set new guidelines for US military operations in Iraq after the expiry of the present UN mandate.
The draft pact, which has triggered fierce opposition in Iraq, says US forces will withdraw from towns and neighbourhoods by the end of June next year and from the whole country by the end of 2011.
Iraq's neighbours include Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.
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