Ruling Shiite coalition holds off endorsing US-Iraq security pact pending changes
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ruling Shiite coalition has withheld support for the proposed security pact that would keep U.S. troops here for three more years, saying it wants unspecified changes to the draft, the associated press reported.
The statement by the United Iraqi Alliance is a major setback to U.S. hopes for speedy approval of the agreement, which parliament must ratify by the end of the year when the U.N. mandate expires.
Tens of thousands of mostly Shiites turned out Saturday in the streets of Baghdad to show their opposition to the agreement.
The Shiite alliance, which includes al-Maliki's Dawa Party and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, holds 85 of parliament's 275 seats. Al-Maliki needs solid support from the alliance in order to win approval of the agreement by a strong majority.