`No need` for US troop immunity post-2011: Iraq
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Last Updated: Wednesday, October 05, 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.


First Published: Wednesday, October 05, 2011, 09:32

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