`No need` for US troop immunity post-2011: Iraq

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 09:32

Baghdad: Iraqi leaders said in a statement
Wednesday there was "no need" for US forces that stay beyond year-end to receive immunity from prosecution, a key condition set
by Washington for any post-2011 training deal.

The remarks raise questions over whether an oft-discussed
American military training mission will be agreed for beyond
the end-2011 withdrawal deadline set by a bilateral security
pact, and how it will be structured if any deal is put in
place.

After a two-hour meeting hosted by Iraqi President Jalal
Talabani, the leaders of the country`s main political blocs
said that they "agreed on the need to train Iraqi forces" and
quickly purchase military equipment, according to a statement
issued by government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.

But, "the leaders agreed there is no need to give immunity
for trainers."

It added: "Training should be held on Iraqi bases, and it
should be organised to ensure that Iraqi forces will be
professional."

"These forces should ... be able to deter any threat
against Iraq`s internal and external security and maintain the
integrity of its territory, water and skies, and its
constitutional democracy."

US and Iraqi officials assess that while domestic security
forces are largely capable of maintaining internal security,
they cannot yet defend the country`s borders, its maritime
waters, or its airspace.

Iraqi political leaders agreed in early August to open
talks with Washington over the training mission, but little
visible progress has been made since.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 09:32

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