Rice Avoids Giving Date for the Withdrawal of Troops from Iraq

Representatives from the United States and Iraq today are redoubling their efforts to define an agreement the focuses on the future scheme of the security in the country, but they avoided giving dates about the withdrawal of American troops.

“The presence of the American forces should be based in the conditions on the ground and on what is needed,” affirmed the American Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice that arrived today in Baghdad for a surprise visit.

Rice made her declarations in a press conference with her Iraqi colleague, Hoshiar Zibari, who although signaling that in conversations the term for the withdrawal of troops has been discussed, he avoided giving details to that respect.

The current mandate given by the United Nations of the foreign military troops that are in Iraq, headed by the United States, expires at the end of the year, and the negotiations in progress search for defining the scheme that shall take place from then.

Rice, while next to Zibari, in her declarations to the journalists assured the two parties are “very close” to defining this agreement that will have to be agreed to by the government of both countries before being ratified.

The Secretary of State added that in the text that is finally signed the sovereignty of Iraq will be assured. “It will be an excellent agreement when we finally have it,” insisted the chief of American diplomacy.

Versions defined in the media of the United States in recent days maintain the agreement that the two parties are discussing focuses on a series of dates for the progressive withdrawal of the American troops, but neither Rice nor Zibari wanted to give details.

The text that is being discussed, said the Iraqi Minister, “determines the principal provisions and requirements for regulating the timely presence of the troops, but as the agreement is not terminated, we cannot give dates, but the periods have been discussed.”

“Obviously, the coalition forces are here by invitation of the Iraqi government and we intend to search for an agreement that respects the people and the sovereignty of Iraq”, added Condoleeza Rice for her part.

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