Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

WEB NEWS

Russian aid convoy: Mission accomplished?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Actor Orlando Jones lauches 'Bullet Bucket Challenge'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Macron Economics'

Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande puts young ex-banker in top economy post

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

  • American journalist held captive in Syria arrives in US

    Read more

  • In pictures: The ministers in France's new government

    Read more

  • 'Lasting' ceasefire agreed for Gaza, Abbas says

    Read more

  • Far-right ‘Russian Jihad’ fighters cross into Ukraine

    Read more

  • American 'Islamic State fighter' killed in Syria

    Read more

  • Rebels 'shoot down' UN helicopter in South Sudan

    Read more

  • Air France pilots threaten September strike

    Read more

  • WHO seeks stricter regulation for e-cigarettes

    Read more

Deadline looms for agreement on security pact

Video by Lucas MENGET

Text by AFP

Latest update : 2008-10-31

US officials have warned that the window for agreeing on a security pact with Iraq is drawing to a close as Washington continues to examine amendments put forward by Baghdad.

The United States warned Thursday that the window on difficult negotiations for a US-Iraq security pact is "rapidly coming to a close" as it reviewed proposed Iraqi changes to the deal.
   
"I really don't want to comment until we've had a chance to really review them," State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood told reporters when asked about the proposed amendments.
   
"But, you know, as we said, we think we have a good agreement. And the window for any kind of discussions, negotiations is ... rapidly coming to a close," Wood added.
   
"So I'll just leave it at that. Once we have something to say on it, we will," he said. "But for the moment, we're just taking our time in reviewing it to make sure that ... we've got a good sense of what it is the Iraqis have put forward."
   
President George W. Bush on Wednesday promised to consider Baghdad's proposed changes but warned against shifts that risked "undermining" the accord.
   
"We received amendments today (Wednesday) from the government. We're analyzing those amendments. We obviously want to be helpful and constructive without undermining basic principles," Bush told reporters.
   
Bush, who did not spell out what sorts of changes to the planned Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) would be unacceptable, declared he was "very hopeful and confident that the SOFA will get passed."
   
The US president had hoped to have the accord in hand by July 31, but now is all but certain not to see it approved before the November 4 elections to choose his successor.
   
The draft version has drawn fire from Iraqi political figures on grounds that it undermines their war-torn country's sovereignty, likely to be a key theme in local and regional elections set for January 31.
   
Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr opposes the pact, while top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has warned through a statement from his office that any final deal must not harm Iraqi sovereignty.
   
The Iraqi cabinet has authorized Maliki to negotiate changes in the pact, which will lay out the rights and responsibilities of US forces in Iraq beyond December 2008 when their present UN mandate expires.
 

Date created : 2008-10-30

COMMENT(S)