Though no formal response has been made from the United States, nor is one expected until sometime after today’s election, a well-placed Iraqi member of parliament, Sami al-Askari of the ruling United Iraqi Alliances, says that the government has received “positive indications” on the proposed amendments to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe says that the answer will be provided in the coming days, but suggests that the US may accept certain amendments while rejecting others. Reports have them accepting the demand to inspect outgoing US mail and removing the clause allowing the US and Iraq to seek an extension for the troop presence beyond 2011.
The US is reported to be more resistant on clarifying the language on troop immunities: the draft version appears to allow the US to determine when its troops have immunity and when they do not.
US officials have been resistant to changes in the draft, and have threatened to halt non-military aid if the Iraqis don’t agree to the SOFA by year’s end. It was also reported yesterday that the US is looking at asking the United Nations Security Council to extend its mandate beyond the end of the year in case the SOFA is not finalized by then.
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