BAGHDAD, July 15 (UPI) -- There are no plans "nor any desire" for a permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq as part of a security deal between the two countries, a U.S. official said.
"There is no plan, nor any desire, for permanent military bases in Iraq," U.S. Defense Department spokesman Mark Wright told Trend Capital News Tuesday.
The British daily The Guardian disclosed a March 7 confidential draft of the long-term security arrangement set to replace the U.N. mandate for Iraq that expires at the end of the year. The draft said Iraq and the United States had included terms defining an unlimited U.S. military presence in Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki last week told Washington officials, however, any negotiations on the security arrangement must include a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal, a sentiment expressed by various Iraqi lawmakers this week.
"I wouldn't comment on these ongoing discussions. But as (U.S.) Ambassador (to Iraq Ryan) Crocker has made clear, the U.S. has full respect for Iraqi sovereignty, and any agreement will reflect that. The agreements will be fully transparent," Wright said.