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US agrees to three changes in security pact with Iraq


Baghdad : The US has agreed to three of the five amendments that Iraq made to a long-term security pact between the two countries, the semi-official Iraqi al-Sabah newspaper reported Monday.

The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) aims at regulating the future of US troops in Iraq after the UN mandate expires at the end of 2008.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said he expects a reply from Washington soon on amendments to the pact that Iraq proposed last week.

The US still insists on immunity for US soldiers in Iraq. According to the US constitution, US citizens who commit crimes in other countries should be judged according to US law, an Iraqi source told al-Sabah.

After a pact is signed, the US would withdraw its troops from Iraq in 36 months, the source added.

British Ambassador in Iraq Christopher Prentice told the Kurdish newspaper al-Taakhi that Britain was keen on reaching an agreement with the Iraqi government since “very little time remains until the end of this year.”