Iraq Says U.S. Sought to Maintain Troop Presence Until 2015

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Iraqi President Jalal Talabani claimed Wednesday that the United States originally requested permission during troop withdrawal negotiations to leave armed forces there until 2015, Reuters reported.

Eventually, said Talabani, the U.S. agreed to limit authorization to 2011.

"It was a U.S. proposal for the date which is 2015, and an Iraqi one which is 2010, then we agreed to make it 2011. Iraq has the right, if necessary, to extend the presence of these troops," Talabani said on his Web site, in a transcript from an al-Hurra television interview.

Details continue to emerge about talks for the security pact, which has an agreed-upon framework and is reportedly close to conclusion.

The agreement sets a course for American combat troops to pull out of major Iraqi cities by next June, with a broader withdrawal from the long and costly war by 2011.

The exit date for U.S. troops would be December 2011, although the Americans insist on linking that target to additional security and political progress.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that while overall negotiations continued, the two sides had accepted late 2011 as an end date for the presence of the approximately 145,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq, Reuters reported.

U.S. officials stress that no final agreement has been made. A final deal will need to be approved by the Iraqi parliament.

Click here to read the full Reuters report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.