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Iraq-US pact talks in deadlock, but not dead
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By Jamal Hashim, Shaalan Ahmed

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki's harsh words on "deadlock" over Iraq-U.S. pact talks may not prevent Baghdad and Washington from hammering out a long-term relationship pact, analysts said Saturday.

Maliki could have made the pointed remarks under growing pressure at home and abroad, added the analysts.

The prime minister said on his trip in Jordan that the negotiations had come into a deadlock because the Iraqi side could not accept the U.S.terms which infringe on Iraqi sovereignty.

The Bush administration is struggling to justify its continued influence, including military presence, in Iraq by reaching a deal with Iraq before the extended UN mandate ends in December.

Bush wants to get it done by the end of July. However, the lack of transparency of the negotiations has aroused deep concerns among Iraqis that sovereignty and interests are likely to be compromised.

Maliki's Friday comments were his first revelation of the sticking points in the negotiation process.

He said Iraq rejected the U.S. demands, including arresting Iraqis or running anti-terror operations without the permission of the Iraqi side, and granting immunity to U.S. troops and contractors.

Ibrahim al-Ameri, a politics professor of Baghdad University, said Maliki was under pressure after the British newspaper Independence and other media reports began disclosing part of the secret deal.

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