Maliki Promises to Stand Firm on Sovereignty
Speaking to tribal leaders in Iraq’s capital, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged not to sign a deal with the U.S. that didn’t include a withdrawal date. He also said he would not accept “absolute immunity for anybody, whether Iraqis or foreigners.” That’s a sticking point for the Bush administration, although a draft deal is said to include limited immunity for U.S. soldiers, along with a pullout date of 2011.
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He said no agreement would be signed that did not respect Iraqi sovereignty, Reuters reports.
“An open time limit is not acceptable in any security deal that governs the presence of the international forces,” he said.
He also said no foreigners would be given full legal immunity. The US has been trying to include immunity from prosecution in the Iraqi courts for its soldiers as part of the deal.
“We will not accept to put the lives of our sons on the line by guaranteeing absolute immunity for anybody, whether Iraqis or foreigners,” Mr Maliki said. “The sanctity of Iraqi blood should be respected.”