US, Iraq Close to Signing Troop Deal

BUSH WITH TROOPS IN IRAKWASHINGTON,DC (RUSHPRNEWS) AUGUST 21, 2008–The top U.S. and Iraqi diplomats say they are close to agreeing on the future of U.S. forces in Iraq. But Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told reporters in Baghdad Thursday that no deal has yet been signed.

Rice is in the Iraqi capital on an unannounced visit. She is negotiating a deal that will govern U.S. troop levels after a United Nations mandate expires at the end of the year. Also at issue is what amount of immunity will be offered to U.S. soldiers who serve there.

Rice said the United States will respect Iraqi sovereignty under any agreement. Foreign Minister Zebari added that there is “no hidden agenda” in the negotiations.

The U.S. diplomat also congratulated her Iraqi counterpart on his recent work “re-connecting” Iraq with other nations in the region.

NEWS SOURCE: VOICE OF AMERICA -Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.