Iraqi President Backs US Senate Proposal to Decentralize Iraq
08 October 2007
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says he supports a U.S. Senate resolution that calls for the decentralization of Iraq into autonomous regions for Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds.
The non-binding Senate resolution adopted last month is opposed by the Bush administration and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
But, Mr. Talabani said in an interview with CNN Sunday that the Senate proposal deserves consideration and does not undermine Iraq's unity.
The resolution urges the creation of a federal government in Baghdad that would protect Iraq's borders and share oil revenues among the regions.
Mr. Talabani, who is a Kurd, says there is "no possibility" of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region becoming independent. He says such a state would face hostility from neighbors with Kurdish minorities.
The Iraqi president also says he believes the United States can withdraw at least 100,000 troops from Iraq by the end of next year.
Mr. Talabani did not explain why he thinks the U.S. military can carry out a faster pullout than U.S. commanders have discussed in public.
Mr. Talabani also says the U.S. military should keep three bases in northern, central and southern Iraq to train Iraqi forces and prevent neighboring countries from interfering.
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