Timetable Needed to End 'Foreign Presence' in Iraq: PM

'Specific time' for withdrawal must be part of new security deal, Maliki says
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2008 12:09 PM CDT
Nouri al-Maliki, right, is received by General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, July 6, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Iraq is ready to be rid of US troops, its prime minister said today, and he wants a timetable. “We are looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty,” Nouri al-Maliki told Arab diplomats, saying the “memorandum of understanding” being negotiated with the US would include either outright departure or a timetable, Reuters reports.

Maliki also wants a deal to include greater Iraqi control over foreign operations. "This means the phenomena of unilateral detention will be over, as well as unilateral operations," he said. The comments will likely be popular with Iraq’s neighbors, and drew applause from the Sadrist faction. “This is a step in the right direction,” a spokesman said. “We hope Maliki will show seriousness about it.” (Read more Iraq stories.)