US open to keeping troops in Iraq after 2011: Gates


AFP
November 9, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR — US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday said Washington was open to keeping troops in Iraq beyond a 2011 deadline, but it was up to Baghdad to make a request.

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“In terms of the future strategic relationship beyond the end of 2011, I would say that the initiative clearly needs to come from the Iraqis,” Gates said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

“We are open to discussing it,” he said.

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Gates, however, said any talks on the issue would have to wait until Iraqi leaders agree a power-sharing deal and name key ministers, amid months of stalemate following parliamentary elections.

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