Iraqi president to discuss U.S. troops presence in Iraq
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will chair a meeting with Iraqi political leaders to discuss the presence of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the deadline of 2011, Xinhua reported according to official newspaper reported on Sunday.
"There would be a meeting headed by Talabani very soon to discuss the issue related to the U.S. troops withdrawal from Iraq, " the state-owned news paper of al-Sabah quoted government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh as saying.
Dabbagh's announcement came amid tensions rose recently between the Iraqi government and the United States when the Iraqi authorities asked for a U.S. congressman delegation to leave the country after the latter suggested that Iraq has to pay back the United States the money it has spent for the war in the country since the 2003 invasion.
"We have told the U.S. embassy Friday to ask the congressmen to leave Iraq," Dabbagh said. "Those people are not welcome in Iraq, They are raising a controversial issue which affects the strategic relation between Iraq and the United States," Dabbagh added.
The congressmen were also provocative in raising another controversial issue when they told Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki that they were investigating whether forces under his command had committed a "crime against humanity" when they killed 35 Iranian dissidents at a camp north of Baghdad earlier in the year.
In April, the Iraqi security forces raided Camp Ashraf which houses more than 3,000 members of an Iranian opposition group named People's Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI).
The Iraqi forces clashed with the disarmed Iranians and there were reports said that some 35 unarmed people were killed in the clashes.
In mid 2010, U.S. troops in Iraq had been reduced to below 50, 000 soldiers. Washington said that the remaining U.S. troops in Iraq are conducting support and training missions.
U.S. military forces are to pull out completely from Iraq by the end of 2011 according to the security pact named Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.