Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Friday talks with the United States on a long-term security pact were at a stalemate because of American demands that encroached on Iraq's sovereignty. "We have reached a deadlock, because when we started the talks, we found that the U.S. demands hugely infringe on the sovereignty of Iraq, and this we can never accept," Maliki said during a visit to Jordan.
In his first detailed comments on the talks, the Iraqi leader said his country opposed Washington's insistence on giving its troops immunity from prosecution in Iraq and freedom to conduct operations independent of Iraqi control. "We can't extend the U.S. forces permission to arrest Iraqis or to undertake the responsibility of fighting terrorism in an independent way, or to keep Iraqi skies and waters open for themselves whenever they want," Maliki conveyed.
"One of the important issues that the U.S. is asking for is immunity for its soldiers and those contracting with it. We reject this totally."
Speaking later to members of the Iraqi community in Amman, Maliki softened his remarks, saying that while there was a deadlock on preliminary drafts of the security agreement, fresh ideas were being put forward by both sides.