Maliki says Security Talks 'at dead end'

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the Associated Press that talks with the United States on a security pact had broken down because neither side would accede to each other's demands:

He says the initial framework agreed upon was to have been an accord "between two completely sovereign states." But he says the U.S. proposals "do not take into consideration Iraq's sovereignty."

The prime minister said Friday "this is not acceptable." The American demands "violate Iraqi sovereignty. At the end, we reached a dead end."

Washington and Baghdad have been negotiating behind closed doors a deal that would give U.S. troops legal grounds for an extended stay in Iraq after a United Nations mandate expires Dec. 31.

This isn't the end of the talks but clearly Maliki feels politically unable to grant the US the wide latitude in troop deployments that General Petreaus feels he needs to protect his forces and the Iraqi people.

If the two sides can't agree, it will force the US to go back to the UN and seek an extension on the mandate. This will almost certainly fail since both Russia and China have made it clear they want US troops out. So in the meantime, the troops agreement will be in limbo until one side or the other gives in on both the number and nature of US bases.

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