The Associated Press: Iraq raises idea of timetable for US withdrawal

The Associated Press: Iraq raises idea of timetable for US withdrawal
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s prime minister said Monday his country wants some type of timetable for a withdrawal of American troops included in the deal the two countries are negotiating.

It was the first time that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has explicitly and publicly called for a withdrawal timetable — an idea opposed by President Bush.

He offered no details. But his national security adviser, Mouwaffak al-Rubaie, told The Associated Press that the government is proposing a timetable conditioned on the ability of Iraqi forces to provide security.

The White House said it did not believe al-Maliki was proposing a rigid timeline for U.S. troop withdrawals.

“Any agreement would not have any hard timetables for withdrawal, but could include the desire by the U.S. and Iraq to withdraw troops based on conditions on the ground,” National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

“I know that Prime Minister al-Maliki has said that he doesn’t want a precipitous withdrawal because of the security consequences,” Johndroe said in Toyako, Japan, where President Bush is attending the G-8 summit.

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