A published report says the Bush administration has urged the United Nations Security Council to extend the mandate of the U.S.-led multinational forces in Iraq for at least a year after Iraqis elect their first government on December 15.
Citing diplomatic sources, The Washington Post says the move is aimed at sparing the new Baghdad government the politically challenging issue of explicitly approving the continued presence of foreign forces.
According to the Post, the request was presented Monday, after the United States addressed objections from France and Russia, which prefer a six-month extension of the mandate that expires next month. Washington agreed that the Council would review the mandate after six months.
In another development, the Defense Department Monday announced plans for a fresh contingent of 92,000 troops to rotate into Iraq, starting by the middle of next year. The current level of U.S. forces in Iraq is about 160,000 troops.
Some information for this report provided by AFP.