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Iraq waits for US response over security deal proposals
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Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih said Thursday that the United States has not sent its response over suggested draft security agreement yet, an Iraqi official television reported.

"The Iraqi side is still waiting for answer from the US government over disputed points raised by the Iraqi government," the Iraqi state-run channel quoted Salih as saying after meeting with Iraq's top spiritual Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani in the holy city of Najaf.

"I believe it is a patriotic issue, and the government is demanded to guarantee the sovereignty of Iraq," Salih told reporters outside the house of Sistani.

On September 1, an Iraqi official newspaper, al-Sabah, quoted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as saying that "the Iraqi government is waiting for a response from the American government about an Iraqi suggested draft, that would maintain sovereignty and interests of our people."

The negotiations formally began on March. The two sides had planned to sign the agreement, along with a pact regarding broader bilateral relations by the end of July, but they failed to meet their deadline.

The two sides differ on several points, among which, immunity granted to US soldiers from Iraqi laws, who will lead the military operations after 2008 and whether the US military have the right to detain Iraqis.

(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2008)

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