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Iraq Requests Further Talks on US-Iraq Security Pact


Iraq says it needs to hold further talks with the United States on a security pact, after Washington expressed reservations about some Iraqi proposals.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Thursday that Iraq had received the U.S. response. He did not provide any details, but he said the mood was positive.

U.S. and Iraqi officials have been trying since May to finalize a deal that would allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires at the end of December.

Iraq is proposing changes to a draft agreement that would give Baghdad more authority over U.S. troops, guarantee that Iraqi territory will not be used to attack other countries, and make sure that there is no clause allowing an American military presence after 2011.

In violence today, Iraqi police say two roadside bombs exploded during the morning rush hour in Baghdad, killing at least four people and wounding seven others.

Police say the bombs targeted a checkpoint in the center of the capital, the Sheik Omar district. Two of the victims were civilians.

Iraqi authorities also say a roadside bomb wounded nine people in the capital's Shi'ite district, Sadr City.

The bombing follows a series of attacks since Monday that have left at least 24 people dead.
Despite the spike in violence, the U.S. is planning to reduce its military presence in Iraq, following reports that attacks are at a four-year low.

Officials say a combat brigade, made up of about 3,500 troops, will pull out in the next few weeks - more than a month earlier than planned.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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