Iraq violence leaves 14 dead, government discusses security deal (Lead)

November 16th, 2008 - 12:26 am ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Nov 15 (DPA) Two explosions in different parts of Iraq Saturday killed 14 people and left scores injured.In Baghdad, five people were killed and 20 were wounded when a car bomb went off near the National Theater in the al-Karada neighbourhood, police said.

Earlier, a car bomb left at least nine people dead and 28 injured in the northern Iraqi town of Tall Afar, 60 km west of Mosul, police told the Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency.

On the political front, the 37-member Iraqi cabinet was scheduled to meet to review the final version of a security pact with the United States, al-Arabiya news network reported.

The pact, known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), would establish a legal basis for the presence of US soldiers in Iraq after a United Nations mandate expires at end of this year.

According to al-Arabiya, Iraqi Transport Minister Amir Abdul-Jabbar said the draft could be put to cabinet vote in an emergency meeting either Sunday or Monday.

If adopted by the cabinet, it would then require parliamentary approval.

The cabinet meeting comes hours after the three-member Iraqi Presidential Council discussed the issue earlier in the day.

The council includes President Galal Talabani and his two vice presidents Tarik al-Hashemi and Adel Abdul-Mahdi.

The US last week responded to Iraqi demands for changes in the text, which US officials described as final and said it was up to the Iraqis to push the process further.

Al-Hashemi, the Sunni vice president, said Saturday the US made “additional modifications” to the agreement in response to a request by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, according to Talabani’s office.

According to press reports Iraq has demanded the removal of any language from the text that might allow US troops to remain in Iraqi cities past Dec 31, 2011, and specifying that US military personnel be held accountable for crimes they commit off duty as well as having to request permission from the Iraqi government to search homes.

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