Iraq criticizes U.S. military chief remarks over security pact
www.chinaview.cn 2008-10-22 22:28:04   Print

Special report: Tension escalates in Iraq

    BAGHDAD, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Iraq on Wednesday criticized remarks made by U.S. military chief Michael Mullen in which he warned Iraqi government of "significant consequences" if it fails to sign U.S. security deal.

    "Deeply concerned, the Iraqi government received the comments of Admiral Michael Mullen," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

    "These comments are not welcomed by Iraq. All Iraqis and their political parties are aware of their responsibilities and they know how important to sign or not to sign the deal in a way that it is suitable to them," Dabbagh said.

    Mullen asserted that if the current UN mandate expires by the end of 2008, Iraqi security forces "will not be ready to provide for their security. And in that regard there is great potential for losses of significant consequence."

    "We are clearly running out of time," said Mullen.

    The long-delayed agreement, that would allow U.S. troops to stay in Iraq beyond the UN mandate, has raised objections among various Iraqi factions, including the ruling Shiite one.

    On Sunday, the largest political bloc in the parliament, the Unified Iraqi Alliance (UIA), raised issue with a draft of the agreement, when Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose Dawa Party is part of UIA, reviewed the current draft with top leaders of the alliance and said changes still needed to be made in order to guarantee Iraq's sovereignty and the interests of its people.

    The draft said that the U.S. troops would leave Iraq by Dec. 31,2011. The deal also allow Iraqi courts to prosecute American service members in case of accusing them of serious crimes while off duty.

Editor: Yan
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