World

Maliki Kicks Americans to the Curb in Iraq

No troops, no bases, Iraqi Prime Minister tells U.S. allies.

 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said US forces will leave Iraq as scheduled by year's end, and that there will not be any permanent US bases in the country, a statement from his office said on Tuesday.

"The agreement on the withdrawal of American forces will be implemented on schedule by the end of the year, and there will not be any bases for US forces here," Maliki told Al-Ittijah TV channel in an interview to be broadcast later, it said.

Iraqi leaders have approved negotiations with the United States on a post-2011 training mission, but no deal has yet been announced.

However, an extension of the US military presence in Iraq has been strongly opposed by some, notably by radical anti-US cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who has warned of "war" if American forces stay.

Unless Baghdad and Washington reach a new accord, all of the roughly 46,000 US troops still in the country must leave by December 31, under the terms of a 2008 security agreement.

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