Special report: Tension escalates in Iraq
BAGHDAD, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki denied that he has released statements backing a plan of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama which sets a timeframe for possible U.S. troops withdrawal from Iraq, the government's spokesman said on Sunday.
Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement that Maliki's statements to German magazine Der Spiegel "have been misunderstood and mistranslated and were not conveyed accurately regarding the vision of Senator Barack Obama on the timeframe for U.S. forces withdrawal from Iraq."
Dabbagh explained that Maliki backs an Iraqi vision of pulling U.S. troops based on Iraq's security needs and on talks with Washington, the statement said.
On Saturday, Der Spiegel released an article, quoting Maliki as supporting Obama's proposal that U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq within 16 months.
"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," the German magazine quoted Maliki as saying.
Dabbagh highlighted that statements made by any member of the Iraqi government, including Maliki, should not be understood as showing support to any U.S. presidential candidate.
Obama is now visiting Afghanistan and is expected to visit Iraq soon as part of his first overseas tour since securing the democratic nomination. He is scheduled to travel to Europe within next week.