Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki did not back the plan of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to pullout American forces from Iraq and his comments to a German magazine on the issue were misunderstood, the government's spokesman said on Sunday.
According to Ali al-Dabbagh, Maliki's remarks to Der Spiegel were translated incorrectly. The German magazine said on Saturday that the Iraqi leader endorsed Obama's proposal that American soldiers should leave Iraq within 16 months. The interview was released on Saturday.
"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right time frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes," Der Spiegel quoted Maliki as saying.
According to Reuters, Dabbagh conveyed statements by Maliki or any other member of the government should not be seen as support for any U.S. presidential candidate.
Maliki's remarks were published a day after the White House said he and U.S. President George W. Bush had agreed that a security agreement currently being negotiated between them should include a "time horizon" for withdrawal of U.S. troops.