August 2, 2011

Any agreement for U.S. troops to stay in Iraq beyond a year-end deadline for their withdrawal would require the Iraqi parliament to agree to grant American soldiers legal immunity, the top U.S. military officer said on Tuesday.

Immunity for American troops staying on in Iraq could complicate the already difficult wrangling for Iraq’s fragile, multi-sectarian government, whose leaders are under pressure to decide whether some U.S. soldiers should stay in the country.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says Iraq may need only trainers rather than U.S. troops, allowing him to bypass fractious negotiations with parliament. But U.S. officials say any training deal would likely involve American troops and require a lawmaker agreement on immunity.

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