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Mullen Says Troops Must Have Legal Immunity To Stay In Iraq

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff CHairman, Admiral Mike Mullen
The top U.S. military officer says Iraq must quickly make a decision on the future of U.S. troops in the country and give them protection from legal prosecution as part of any agreement to keep them in Iraq beyond the end of the year.

U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen made the remarks late on August 1 in Baghdad, where he met with Iraqi political leaders to discuss whether to keep any U.S. soldiers in the country beyond this year's December 31 pullout deadline.

"That kind of agreement, which would include privileges and immunities for American men and women in uniform, will need to go through the [parliament]," Mullen said.

Washington has offered to let up to 10,000 U.S. troops stay and continue training Iraqi forces, but Iraqi politicians have already missed a self-imposed July 23 deadline to reach a decision on the U.S. troop presence.

compiled from agency reports