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Maliki: Iraq, US Agree to No Foreign Troops After 2011


Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says the United States has agreed in negotiations to withdraw all its troops from Iraq by 2011.

But U.S. officials insist no deal has been reached.

Mr. Maliki Monday said his government has reached an agreement with Washington that any foreign presence on Iraqi soil will end by 2011. He did not offer any further details.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for U.S. President George Bush said there has not been any final security deal with Iraq.

Last week in Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said both sides were close to a security deal. But she said it did not contain any firm dates for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman says the United States has a strong desire to continue handing over security responsibilities to the Iraqi forces.

U.S. officials say the most recent proposed security pact calls for American combat troops to leave Iraqi cities and relocate to bases in Iraq as soon as next June.

The security deal would govern foreign troop levels there after the U.S. forces' United Nations mandate expires at the end of this year. Iraqi officials say that under a deal, Baghdad could ask U.S. forces to stay longer if security conditions require.

The two sides also are discussing how much immunity U.S. soldiers will have from Iraqi law.

The Bush administration says it will inform Congress when a deal is reached but will not submit the document to lawmakers for approval.

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