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Iraqi MP Rejects Reports on Kurds' Call for Prolonged US Deployment

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TEHRAN, April 10 (ICANA) – A member of the parliament of Iraq's Kurdistan region denied media reports that Iraqi Kurds have asked for a longer US military presence in the country's autonomous region of Kurdistan.
Sunday, April 10, 2011 9:38:08 PM
Iraqi MP Rejects Reports on Kurds' Call for Prolonged US Deployment

Speaking to FNA, Sabah Barzandi said that based on the security pact signed by the US and Iraqi government, the US forces should leave the country.

Meantime, Barzandi stressed that based on the security pact, Iraq's central government is the sole authority to decide the US forces' presence on Iraqi soil, reminding that Kurdistan's representatives have also approved and endorsed the pact.

"The security pact is the reference for dealing with the issue of the US (military) presence," the Kurdish lawmaker noted.

"It is not related to Iraq's Kurdish officials and they have no role in the US forces' stay or exit. It is up to the central government to decide on the issue," Barzandi said.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region on Friday for talks with regional president Massud Barzani.

During the visit, Gates called for a prolonged mission in Iraq, saying that American forces are prepared to stay in any role beyond a scheduled pullout late this year.

"My basic message to them is for us to just be present in some areas where they still need help. We are open to that possibility," said the Pentagon chief.

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