Iraqi parliament rejects stay of British troops beyond Dec. 31

December 21st, 2008 - 3:19 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown

London, Dec 21 (ANI): Iraqs parliament today threw out a draft law allowing British troops to remain in the country beyond the end of this month.

It was the second time in a week that the council of representatives has rejected the arrangements for UK and other non-US forces to stay until next July 31, The Sun reported.

Some legislators have insisted that international treaty, rather than domestic law should govern foreign troops. Others wanted them to be out of the country much earlier.

The draft proposals have been put forward by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and allowed Gordon Brown to announce on Wednesday a timetable for the draw down of UK troops.

On a whistlestop visit to Iraq, Brown had said that British military operations would be done by May 31, 2009 and that troops would leave within the following two months.

But the plans require Iraqi legislators to approve a new status of forces agreement for Britains 4,100 troops in the country after a United Nations mandate expires on New Years Eve.

The agreement will now have to be redrafted by Malikis ministers for a second time after the council of representatives rejected it on a voice vote today.

It is expected to be considered again after Christmas. If the agreement cannot be approved, the Iraqi government may have to use emergency powers to allow troops to remain.

Some members of the parliament are concerned that the draft law is not as strict as an Iraq-US security pact agreed earlier this month to govern the 150,000 American troops in the country. (ANI)

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