BAGHDAD: Iraqi parliament has voted to accept a deal on the future presence of US troops in the country. The decision means that US troops will leave Iraqi streets by mid-2009 and will quit Iraq entirely by the end of 2011.
The agreement is the result of a year of negotiations with the US, with the Iraqis requesting several changes. Some groups fiercely opposed the pact in parliament and at mass rallies, demanding that US troops leave earlier. Iraq’s Presidential Council must still ratify the deal but its approval is expected. Iraq’s government has hailed the parliamentary session as the prelude to the return of full sovereignty to the country.
Of the 275 members of parliament, 198 were present, with 149 voting in favour. An initial Iraqi count had put the figure at 144.-SANA