U.S. denies seeking permanent bases in Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2007-11-30 00:19:52   Print

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The White House said on Thursday that the U.S. government is not seeking permanent military bases in Iraq.

    "We do not seek permanent bases in Iraq," spokeswoman Dana Perino said at the press briefing.

    The remarks ran against what the U.S. "war czar," Lieutenant General Douglas Lute said on Monday that establishment of permanent military installations would "certainly be a key item" for U.S.-Iraq negotiation on long-term security ties next year.

    Lute was appointed by President George W. Bush in May to serve as assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    He briefed reporters on Monday after Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed via video teleconference a bilateral declaration that would establish common principles to frame the future relationship between the two countries.

    Lute said that the non-binding "Declaration of Principle for Friendship and Cooperation" laid the groundwork for negotiations in 2008 on political, economic and security ties between the two countries, including the future presence of U.S. forces in Iraq.

    "The shape and size of any long-term, or longer than 2008, U.S. presence in Iraq will be a key matter for negotiation between the two parties, Iraq and the United States," the general said.

    Earlier reports cited Iraqi senior officials as saying that Iraq's government is prepared to offer the United States a long-term troop deployment in Iraq and preferential treatment for American investments in exchange for American's guarantee of long-term security.

    Lute, confirmed the proposal by saying that it is "a set of principles from which to begin formal negotiations" that U.S. hopes can be concluded by July. 

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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