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Sunni Arab political bloc warns of "armed resistance" if US troops stay in Iraq

08-08-2011 21:58 BJT

BAGHDAD, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- A parliamentary Sunni Arab bloc rejected Monday any U.S. troops to train Iraqi forces after the withdrawal deadline due on Dec. 31 and warned of possibility of " armed resistance" by the Iraqi people.

Hamid al-Mutlak, a leading figure in the Iraqi National Dialogue Front, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Salih al-Mutlak, told reporters at a news conference in Baghdad that "the front rejects any presence for American trainers in Iraq."

"The Iraqi people may resort to armed resistance if the occupation forces stay in Iraq," Hamid al-Mutlak said.

The front is part of the cross-sectarian parliamentary bloc of Iraqia, headed by the veteran politician Ayad Allawi.

On Sunday, Iraqi radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened that any U.S. troops for training mission after the end of 2011 deadline will be considered as occupation forces and to be resisted by military means.

"Anyone who stays in Iraq from the Americans will be treated as oppressive occupier that should be resisted through military means, " Sadr said in a statement issued by his office.

Late on Tuesday, the Iraqi political leaders agreed in a meeting to give green light to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to start talks with the United States about keeping some of its troops in Iraq beyond the end of 2011 deadline only for training the Iraqi security forces.

U.S. military forces are to pull out completely from Iraq by the end of 2011, according to a security pact, named Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.

Maliki frequently said that SOFA cannot be renewed as stated in the agreement, but talks with the Americans are expected to let a small number of U.S. troops to stay in Iraq beyond the end of 2011 deadline only for training Iraqi forces under the Strategic Framework Agreement, which was signed earlier with the SOFA between the two countries.

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: Xinhua

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