Iraqi PM rejects comments on US stay for 10 years
Iraq's prime minister Saturday dismissed remarks by the top government spokesman that some American troops may need to stay for another 10 years despite a security pact that calls for a U.S. withdrawal by 2012. Earlier this week, spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told reporters in Washington that American troops might be needed to continue training Iraq's security forces well past the agreed upon Dec. 31, 2011, deadline for U.S. troops to leave under the recently approved U.S.-Iraqi security pact.
"What was announced about the Iraqi forces needing 10 years in order to be ready is only his personal point of view and it doesn't represent the opinion of the Iraqi government," Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office said in a written statement, cited by the AP.
In Bahrain, Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh said that militant groups should not think the country will be vulnerable after U.S. forces withdraw in three years. He said the pact that outlines the withdrawal is the result of mutual recognition that Iraq will be able to defend itself.