Wednesday, August 27, 2008

As the world turns

An AlHayat reporter says an Iraqi negotiator says they have an agreed text, now all they have to do is figure out what it means.

Chances of completing the signing of an agreement... retreated following the optimism caused by the statements of [C Rice] in Baghdad last week. The two sides said negotiations are still going on in an attempt to solve their differences, and one of the members of the Iraqi negotiating team told AlHayat that the two sides are in agreement on the broad lines, but there are particular conceptual and legal differences respecting these clauses and the methods for applying them and their timing. Meanwhile parliamentary sources [said they] are inclined to think that putting this through Parliament will be delayed until next year.
The journalist notes Maliki has said there is agreement on no American forces in Iraq after 2011, and Washington has denied that. He continues:
The member of the negotiating delegation, who asked not to be named, said "The negotiating sessions with the American delegation are still continuing, and with escalating tension, in order to come to a determination on the differences in the document on security". He added that the negotiations "have reached their final stage, and what is now coming out about the contradictions between statements by Iraqi and American authorities are differences of understanding and of law in the interpretation of some of the text which was left susceptible to interpretation. He explained: "The agreement includes a definition of a time-schedule for the withdrawal of the American forces from the country, and that is something that was clearly agreed upon by the two sides. But the disagreement arises in the identity of these forces [literally in "what are these forces"] and their classification, and in the timing of their withdrawal.