Negotiations on US troup withdrawal from Iraq faltering

Other News Materials 5 September 2008 14:44 (UTC +04:00)

Negotiations on a security agreement between Iraq and the United States regarding the future presence of US troops have been put on hold, the news agency Aswat al-Iraq reported Friday.

The agency quoted Vice President Tarek al-Hashimi, who said talks had been stopped "for a while." There still were serious differences, al-Hashimi said during a visit to the Baghdad Sunni suburb of Adhamija on Thursday night, reported dpa.

The negotiations are aimed at setting the conditions for the future presence of US troops in Iraq after the UN mandate expires at the end of this year.

Iraqi newspapers reported earlier that the withdrawal date was no longer controversial but the question of immunity for US soldiers was now the main issue.

The US government is opposed to the idea that its soldiers should account to local courts for crimes committed in Iraq. Currently, these soldiers are tried by military courts in the US.

Meanwhile, the news agency Burathanews reported that the British government intended to open separate talks with Baghdad on the future of British soldiers in Iraq.

This would only be the case if a continued presence of British troops in the south of Iraq is deemed necessary when the UN mandate expires, the report added.