Maliki Says Negotiations on US-Iraqi Security Deal Ongoing Despite Impasse
By VOA News
13 June 2008
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says negotiations with the United States on a planned long-term security agreement have reached a "dead end," but that negotiations are ongoing.
Mr. Maliki said Friday that the first drafts of the deal had what he calls "unacceptable" U.S. demands that infringe on Iraq's sovereignty. He said both sides are presenting new ideas in order to move forward.
White House representatives say the United States fully respects the Iraqis' sovereignty and intends to continue working on the negotiations.
U.S. and Iraqi officials have been negotiating an agreement to allow American forces to remain in Iraq beyond December 31, when their United Nations mandate expires. They also are pursuing a separate accord addressing future political and economic ties.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said his Mahdi Army militia will continue to resist U.S.-led forces, but that fighting will be limited to a select group of his choosing.
In other news, the U.S. military says coalition forces have detained 18 suspected al-Qaida in Iraq militants in operations throughout the country since Thursday.
A military statement says coalition troops captured two of the suspected terrorists in separate raids Friday north of Baghdad. They also detained four others in the northern city of Mosul.
The military says one of the men it has in custody is believed to be linked to a bombing team operated by an al-Qaida in Iraq bombing network in the Tigris River valley.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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