“The last American soldier will leave Iraq” after the pre-negotiated 2011 deadline, regardless of any rumblings among American officials, says Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The status of forces agreement governing the U.S. military presence in Iraq, Maliki adds, “is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration, it is sealed, it expires on Dec. 31 .”
The Wall Street Journal:
WSJ: Some American officials have spoken about contingency plans being drawn now in Washington for the possibility that some American troops will stay after 2011. Do you know about these contingency plans, and do you need troops?
Mr. Maliki: I do not care about what’s being said. I care about what’s on paper and what has been agreed to. The withdrawal of forces agreement [Status of Forces Agreement or SOFA] expires on Dec. 31, 2011. The last American soldier will leave Iraq.
Secondly this agreement is sealed and at the time we designated it as sealed and not subject to extension, except if the new government with Parliament’s approval wanted to reach a new agreement with America, or another country, that’s another matter. This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration, it is sealed, it expires on Dec. 31 .