Baghdad, Oct. 22 (AKnews) – Iraq’s Nuri al-Maliki said Saturday that the number of US trainers and the period they should stay in the country will be determined in the arms deal between Baghdad and Washington.
Maliki’s statement, who was speaking in a press conference in Baghdad, comes as the US forces are nearing the December 2011 deadline set for them under the security deal signed between Baghdad and Washington to withdraw from Iraq.
Maliki said the retaining of US trainers the period they should stay will “be inserted in the arms deals that will be done as an essential condition”.
The retaining of US trainers was criticized by some Iraqi political blocs, mainly by the Sadrist Current led by Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr – becuase most of Iraq’s weapons were Russian or European made which according to them did not need US trainers.
“The presence of trainers is natural when you buy weapons from a country to train Iraqi cadres on using and maintaining them… the (US) bases will remain for training purposes only and not for military operations”
He said Baghdad had held talks with Washington and both parties had agreed on the withdrawal of the US forces in Iraq on time. The PM believed the withdrawal of the US troops could contribute to the stability of the country as it will remove all justifications used by “terrorist elements, al-Qaeda”. “The withdrawal will end any military US presence in Iraq”