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Iraq Proposes Changes to US Troop Pact


The Iraqi Cabinet has authorized Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to negotiate changes to a draft security pact with the United States.

The White House said it had not seen the proposed amendments, and expressed caution about further talks.

Under the current draft accord, U.S. troops could remain in Iraq for three years, after a U.N. mandate expires in December. U.S. officials say without the accord, all U.S. military operations would cease in Iraq.

The security pact was the focus of a meeting Tuesday between the president of Iraq's northern Kurdish government, Massoud Barzani, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington.

Mr. Barzani said he and Rice also discussed bilateral issues and recent positive developments in Iraqi relations with Turkey concerning the anti-Turkey Kurdish rebels.

Also Tuesday, a court in Baghdad sentenced an Iraqi militant to death for the kidnapping, torture and murder of three U.S. soldiers in 2006, but acquitted two others.

The U.S. soldiers were ambushed in June 2006 in a predominantly Sunni area south of Baghdad known as the "Triangle of Death."

In the northern city of Mosul, authorities say gunmen fired on a group of policemen heading to work, killing four of them. Four other policemen were wounded.

And, authorities in Baghdad say a car bomb explosion killed at least three people and wounded more than 13 others in the al-Jihad neighborhood.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.