Pentagon: Iraq pact adequately protects troops

Associated Press - October 16, 2008 1:53 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Pentagon spokesman says Defense Secretary Robert Gates is calling congressional leaders in support of a draft security agreement with Iraq that provides protections for U.S. forces there.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell would not provide details on the draft accord, but said Gates would not be phoning lawmakers about a document that did not provide appropriate protections for the troops. He says Gates is comfortable with it.

Iraqi officials familiar with the draft say it allows American troops to be tried in Iraqi courts for major crimes committed off base and when not on missions. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not supposed to release the information, say it also calls for U.S. troops to leave Iraqi cities by the end of June and withdraw from the country by Dec. 31, 2011, unless the Baghdad government asks them to stay.

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