Gates warns Baghdad of “dramatic consequences” for pact failure

The US defense secretary Robert Gates responded angrily to Iraq’s unanimous vote Saturday, Oct. 21 to demand amendments in the draft status-of-forces agreement providing for US troops to stay in Iraq until 2011. There will be “pretty dramatic” consequences,” Gates said unless Iraqi politicians get behind the agreement.
He said US officials were greatly reluctant to negotiate changes in the text which allows US troops to operate in Iraq after Dec. 31, when the UN mandate runs out.
“What we have here is a final draft,” he said.
The agreement calls for U.S. forces to withdraw from Iraqi cities by next June 30 and from the entire country by the end of 2011, while allowing those timelines to be extended by mutual consent.
It gives the U.S. legal jurisdiction over American troops and civilian government personnel accused of crimes while on-base or on-duty. Iraqi authorities would have jurisdiction over U.S. personnel accused of serious crimes while off-base or off-duty.

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