Sunday, June 8, 2008

A majority of Iraqi parliamentarians reject US SOFA and write to Congress

Press TV reports:

Iraqi MPs adamant against US pact: The Iraqi Parliament wants US forces out of Iraq.

The majority of Iraqi parliamentarians have written to the US Congress rejecting a long-term security deal, if US forces don't leave Iraq.

New York Times reported that Rep. William Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts, released excerpts from a letter he was handed by Iraqi parliamentarians laying down conditions for the security pact that the Bush administration seeks with Iraq.

The proposed pact has become increasingly controversial in Iraq, where there have been protests against it. It has also drawn criticism from inside the US suggesting that President George W. Bush is trying to dictate war policy after he leaves office.

"The majority of Iraqi representatives strongly reject any military-security, economic, commercial, and agricultural, investment or political agreement with the United States that is not linked to clear mechanisms that obligate the occupying American military forces to fully withdraw from Iraq," the letter of Iraqi MPs said.

The signatures represented more than half the members of Iraq's parliament.

Two Sunni and Shia Iraqi lawmakers whose parties were listed as signatories testified to Delahunt's panel that US troops should leave Iraq, and that talks on the long-term security pact should be postponed until after they are gone.

"What are the threats that require US forces to be there?" asked Nadeem Al-Jaberi, a Shia MP.

"I would like to inform you, there are no threats on Iraq. We are capable of solving our own problems," he declared. He favored a quick pullout of US forces, which invaded the country in 2003 and currently number around 155,000.

Another Iraqi lawmaker, Khalaf Al-Ulayyan -a Sunni- , also said that bilateral talks on a long-term security deal should be shelved until American troops leave and until there is a new government in Washington.

"We prefer to delay until there is a new administration in the United States," he said.

Barack Obama, who secured the Democratic Party's nomination this week, is among senators sponsoring a bill requiring any long-term pact with Iraq be submitted to Congress for approval.