NATO denies Iraq report of withdrawal: Official

NATO denied an assertion by Iraq`s national security advisor that it had decided to withdraw its mission.

Last Updated: Dec 12, 2011, 10:16 AM IST

Brussels: NATO on Monday denied an assertion by
Iraq`s national security advisor that it had decided to
withdraw its mission there at the end of the year after
Baghdad refused to grant it legal immunity.

"There hasn`t been a decision yet," an official at NATO
headquarters in Brussels said, while acknowledging that the
question of the mission`s legal standing was an issue.

"When they ask us to extend the mission, we need to see
that the same legal framework will extend as well," the
official said on condition of anonymity.

"We remain hopeful that a solution will be found and that
we`ll be able to say yes to the Iraqi request to extend our
mission, based on the legal framework that we (have) had since
2009," the official added.

The official was responding to remarks earlier Sunday by
Iraq`s National Security Adviser Falah al-Fayadh who said the
decision had already been taken, because Baghdad had refused
to grant the force legal immunity.

The failure to agree on immunity from prosecution
closely mirrors Iraq`s refusal to grant US soldiers similar
protections earlier this year.

That sank a potential deal between the two countries
to keep US soldiers in the country beyond the end of the year.

PTI

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