Iraq expects a reply from the United States within days to its proposal for changes to a pact requiring U.S. troops to leave by the end of 2011, Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Saturday, according to Reuters.
"We expect by Tuesday or Wednesday next week to receive answers from the American side about the suggestions of amendments proposed by the Iraqi cabinet," Zebari told U.S.-funded al-Hurra Arabic language television.
"We are talking about a small space of time. It is not open ended, and every side is coming nearer to the moment of truth."
U.S. embassy spokeswoman Susan Ziadeh said Washington was considering the Iraqi proposals and would respond shortly.
Both countries appear to be moving quickly in a last-ditch scramble to save the pact, which was hammered out over months of intensive negotiations but hit a snag in October when Baghdad demanded changes just days after announcing a final text.
Iraq has become safer than at any point since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. In October, 238 Iraqi civilians were killed in violence, according to Iraqi government figures, the lowest monthly toll since the war began.
Seven U.S. service members died in attacks, the lowest figure of the war.
The comparative quiet has helped the Iraqi government grow more assertive in seeking a firm withdrawal deadline as part of the pact, which will provide a mandate for U.S. forces beyond the end of this year when a U.N. Security Council mandate ends.
Iraqi officials have said their proposed amendments would tighten the language demanding a pullout in three years, clarify circumstances under which U.S. troops could be tried in Iraqi courts, and ban U.S. attacks on Iraq's neighbours from its soil.