Iraqi leaders want U.S. troops to go

April 26, 2011 at 10:29 AM
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BAGHDAD, April 26 (UPI) -- Members of large bloc in the Iraqi Parliament plan to back the terms of a bilateral status of forces agreement with the United States, a lawmaker said Tuesday.

U.S. forces under the terms of a 2008 SOFA are to leave Iraq at the end of December, more than eight years after they entered the country.

Ali al-Shilah, a member of the Shiite State of Law party, which makes up a grand Shiite coalition in the Iraqi Parliament, told the Voices of Iraq news agency that negotiations Tuesday centered on the presence of U.S. troops in the country.

"The position of the State of Law is non-extension of the U.S. troops presence in Iraq, for a single day, and we shall not respond toward any American pressures, if any," he was quoted as saying.

Some U.S. and Iraqi officials are concerned that a slow-moving Iraqi political system can't yet cope without some extended U.S. presence.

Sadrists, lawmakers loyal anti-American cleric Moqtada Sadr, expressed their position that U.S. forces shouldn't stay. U.S. military leaders said any decision on the status of the agreement was up to the Iraqis to decide.

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