Maliki finds himself in the position of trying to distance himself from the U.S. presence in Iraq ahead of national elections in January.
While affirming the Dec. 31, 2011, date for the pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did mention in a speech to a Washington think tank the possibility of extending that deadline if Iraqi forces still required “further training and further support.”
Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki has hinted that US forces could stay in Iraq beyond the current deadline of 2011.
In a speech at a Washington think tank, he reiterated that the troop presence is due to end on 31 December 2011, under a bilateral agreement.
“Nevertheless, if the Iraqi forces required further training and further support, we shall examine this then at that time,” he said.
US troops pulled out of Iraqi cities and towns at the end of June.