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    Parts of U.S.-Iraq military pact still to be clarified: minister

    AFP
    31.10.2008 - 15:53 | Son Güncelleme: 31.10.2008 - 15:53

    Some points in the draft security accord between Iraq and the United States still have to be clarified, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said in an interview published Friday.

    "We must clarify some points such as that on jurisdiction, that is to say that the American law has precedence inside their bases but not in the streets," he told the Spanish newspaper ABC.

     

    "Neither can they continue to detain Iraqis in their prisons, that is the jurisdiction of our judges," he said.

     

    "And finally, the sovereignty of the country is at stake over certain aspects such as that of the air space which, for the time being, is still under their control," he said.

     

    The controversial accord, which negotiators have labored over for months, is supposed to be in place by the end of the year to set new guidelines for U.S. military operations in Iraq after the expiry of the present U.N. mandate.

     

    The draft pact, which has triggered fierce opposition in Iraq, says U.S. forces will withdraw from towns and neighborhoods by the end of June next year and from the whole country by the end of
    2011.

    U.S. President George W. Bush on Wednesday promised to consider Baghdad’s proposed changes to the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) but warned against shifts that risked "undermining" the accord.

    If no agreement is reached, "we will try to make a new appeal to the U.N. Security Council to obtain a delay... The truth is their departure now could have serious consequences as much for security as for our economy," Zebari said.

    "I calculate that at least until 2011 we will need support and training from the Americans to consolidate our armed forces," he said.

    Zebari also said the two candidates for the White House, Barack Obama and John McCain, who he said had both assured him that the "fundamental axes of U.S. policy in Iraq will not change."

    "We remember President Bush as the person who allowed us to have a democracy," he said.

    The White House on Thursday charged that politics and posturing in Iraq were delaying the U.S.-Iraq security accord but said it remained "hopeful and confident" about the pact.

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