Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's public demand for the U.S. troops withdrawal timetable from the country fueled on Tuesday the debate between Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his Republican rival John McCain on Iraq policy.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain smiles as he addresses a League of United Latin American Citizens conference in Washington, July 8, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
McCain insisted that any further withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq should be based on security situation on the ground.
"I have always said we will come home with honor and with victory and not through a set timetable," he said in an interview with MSNBC, adding that Iraqis would act in their own national interests and so does the United States.
The Arizona senator warned that despite recent security gains, "the victory we have achieved so far is fragile and (the redeployment) has to be dictated by events and on the ground."
Al-Maliki told Arab ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates on Monday that he has pressed for a withdrawal timetable when negotiating with the United States on an agreement about American forces status beyond 2008.