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U.S. lawmaker wants U.N. extension on Iraq

  |   July 22, 2008 at 6:32 PM
WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., said he wants to explore with former Iraqi officials options regarding the security deal between Iraq and the United States.

Delahunt said in a press release the House Foreign Affairs Oversight Subcommittee will meet with former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to discuss alternatives to the U.S.-Iraq agreement set to replace the U.N. mandate for Iraq, which expires at year's end.

"The purpose of the hearing is to review the options in the event that there is no agreement," Delahunt said.

Delahunt suggested U.S. and Iraqi officials had considered extending the U.N. mandate, should a formal agreement fail to move forward.

"I am pleased to have Dr. Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister of Iraq, join us to provide his assessment of these options," he said.

Delahunt has presided over seven such meetings in the past to reach a settlement to the issue. Iraqi lawmakers are apprehensive about signing a formal declaration that does not include provisions for U.S. troop withdrawal, putting the ratification of the agreement by the end of July in doubt.

Delahunt said in the statement he joined with U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., to introduce legislation requiring congressional approval of any security arrangement with Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament must approve of the measure, but Washington currently does not need congressional consent.

Washington should also seek an extension of the U.N. mandate for Iraq, should negotiations fail to produce a mutually agreed upon measure, the statement said.

The subcommittee meets Wednesday.

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