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Iraqi Parliament Speaker Resigns

Iraqi parliament speaker Mahmud al-Mashhadani resigned on December 23, opening the way for approval of a resolution allowing thousands of non-U.S. troops to stay into next year.

Al-Mashhadani's move was accepted by a majority of the deputies attending a closed-door emergency session of the parliament. It was not immediately clear who would replace him.

Following al-Mashhadani's resignation, the parliament voted to allow more than 5,000 British and other non-U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after a UN mandate expires on December 31.

The United States has already struck a separate security pact to keep troops in Iraq to 2011.

compiled from agency reports