Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
Source: Press TV
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says there will not be any permanent US bases in Iraq and the American forces will leave the Middle Eastern country by the end of the year as scheduled.
“The agreement on the withdrawal of American forces will be implemented on schedule by the end of the year, and there will not be any bases for US forces here,” Maliki said on Tuesday, AFP reported.
Around 47,000 American soldiers are now stationed in Iraq, all of whom must leave the country by the end of 2011 under the terms of a 2008 bilateral security agreement between Washington and Baghdad.
The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) also forced Washington to end its combat operations in Iraq in August 2010.
Iraq's influential cleric Muqtada al-Sadr warned earlier in August that any US training mission in Iraq after 2011 will be confronted by “military means.”
Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi has also said a continued US military presence in the country is “a problem, not a solution,” adding that their year-end pullout will improve Iraq's security.
Despite claims by Washington that the United States no longer engages in combat actions in Iraq, there have been numerous reports of US troops' involvement in military operations in the country.
Many observers believe that Washington has no intention to leave Iraq as US troops have built several bases in the country.