BAGHDAD, July 7 (VOI) – The Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki on Monday said that negotiations with the U.S. side are still underway, aiming at reaching a memorandum for U.S. troops' withdrawal from Iraq, or to draft a timetable for the withdrawal.
This came during a speech that al-Maliki addressed to a number of Arab ambassadors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who he received in Abu-Dhabi, said a release issued by al-Maliki's office.
"Negotiations are still underway with the U.S. side, and the current direction is to reach a memorandum of understanding for U.S. troops' withdrawal, or to timetable the withdrawal," the release that was received by Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI) quoted al-Maliki as saying.
"Respecting Iraq's full sovereignty is the base of any agreement," he said.
"The Iraqi government has been able to stop the country from sliding toward a sectarian war," al-Maliki told the Arab ambassadors.
"It is a government that represents all Iraqis, and evaluates them on the basis of their ability to serve Iraq and defend its national interest," he added.
Concerning the national reconciliation in Iraq, al-Maliki said "It means establishing the bases and principles on which the new state relies, such as dialogue and depending on polls."
"The national reconciliation initiative was widely accepted by the different Iraqi components, as clans and non-governmental organizations participated in reconciliatory conferences," he noted.
Al-Maliki explained to his guests that success in building the Iraqi armed forces on professional unbiased bases made them "more determined and willing to encounter al-Qaeda organization and militias."
"The Iraqi armed forces directed the strongest hits against al-Qaeda and militias," he said.
"Iraq's parts now are open to each other, from the north to the south, and from the east to the west," he proceeded.
"Iraq today fights on different fronts, such as a battle to preserve security and stability, and another for rebuilding, construction, and improving services," he explained.
"Improved security circumstances have increased investment opportunities," he added.
"Major companies are competing to come to Iraq, to participate in the different fields of industry, oil, services, and residential projects," he asserted.
"Iraq no longer represents a threat to peace and stability in the region and world," he clarified.
"We demanded to exclude Iraq from the UN's chapter-7 and the international sanctions, and to cancel the loans that burden Iraq," he said.
"Some countries, such as the generous initiative offered by the UAE, responded to or demands," he noted.
On Sunday noon, the Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki arrived in the UAE for a two day visit.
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