Iraqi political parties fail to decide extension of U.S. presence in Iraq

Iraqi political parties fail to decide extension of U.S. presence in Iraq
# 25 July 2011 17:39 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Iraqi leading political parties on Monday failed again to give final decision about the extension of U.S. troops’ presence in the country beyond the end of 2011 deadline, an Iraqi lawmaker said, APA reports siting Xinhua.

"The trilateral committee has failed to reach a consensus among the political blocs over the U.S. troops’ withdrawal, implementation of the power-sharing deal (also known as Arbil agreement) and the reducing of the country’s cabinet members," Mahmoud Othman told reporters, referring to a committee formed earlier and tasked to settle disputes of the rival political blocs.

"It (committee) was decided to submit its report today to President Jalal Talabani. Now it failed, the meeting of the political leaders will be postponed until further notice," Othman said.

More than two weeks ago, Iraqi leading political parties had failed in a meeting in Talabani’s residence to take a final decision about the extension of the U.S. troops’ presence in the country.

"The issue of the U.S. troops’ presence has been thoroughly discussed and our brothers (politicians) decided to tackle the issue with their friends, allies and parties to come after (about) two weeks with a decisive result," Talabani told reporters at a press conference after the meeting of July 9.

Talabani also announced that the political leaders agreed to form the trilateral committee which represented the major political parties of the Shi’ite Alliance, cross-sectarian bloc of Iraqia and the Kurdish Alliance. The committee was due to thrash out a consensus over three major issues, including the U.S. troops ’ withdrawal from the country as scheduled in the security pact between Baghdad and Washington.

Baghdad and Washington are in debate whether the U.S. troops need to extend the presence of its troops in Iraq beyond the 2011 deadline.

In mid 2010, U.S. troops in Iraq had been reduced to below 50, 000 soldiers. Washington said that the remaining U.S. troops in Iraq are conducting support and training missions.

U.S. military forces are to pull out completely from Iraq by the end of 2011, according to the security pact named Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which was signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.