Wednesday, October 5, 2022


Security pact dominates Barzani’s talks with Rice in Washington

ARBIL / Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, said his talks on Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice focused on a controversial draft Iraq-US military pact. “The issue of the strategic agreement was the main theme of the meeting,” Barzani told reporters following his talks with Rice in Washington, adding it was “discussed in detail.” However, Barzani said he had no details about proposed changes to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that is designed to lay out the rights and responsibilities of U.S. forces in Iraq after a UN mandate expires at the end of the year. “I’m not aware of the latest amendments because I was traveling during the meeting,” he added. The Iraqi cabinet on Tuesday authorized Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to negotiate changes in the security pact. The cabinet last week decided to seek changes to the deal, the latest draft of which stipulates that American forces will withdraw from Iraqi cities by June 2009 and from the country by December 2011. The draft also offers powers to the Iraqis to prosecute American soldiers and civilians for “serious crimes” committed outside their bases and when off-duty. On Tuesday, the White House poured cold water on Iraq’s push to reopen talks on the accord, with spokeswoman Dana Perino saying, “the door is pretty much shut on these negotiations.” Barzani said he and Rice also discussed the situation involving Iraq, the Kurds and Turkey. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Barzani and Rice also discussed how oil producing regions in Iraq, such as Kurdistan, could share Iraq’s oil revenue, a move that has been blocked by Iraqi lawmakers for almost a year. SH (S) 1

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