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Majority Of Iraqi Legislators Call For Timetable For U.S. Withdrawal

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In a letter to Congress, dovetailing with yesterday's testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight, thirty-one Iraqi legislators, representing a majority of the Iraq Parliament, have expressed "widespread disapproval of the proposed U.S.-Iraq security agreement if it does not include a specific timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. military troops."

We, the undersigned members of the council, wish to confirm your concerns that any international agreement that is not ratified by the Iraqi legislative power is considered unconstitutional and illegal, in accordance with the current rulings and laws of the Iraqi Republic. Furthermore, any treaty, agreement or "executive agreement" that is signed between Iraq and the United States will not be legal and will not enter the stage of implementation without first being ratified by the Council of Representatives, in accordance with Article 61 of Section Four of the Iraqi constitution, which gives the Iraqi government's legislative power, represented by the Council of Representatives, the exclusive right to ratify international treaties and agreements.

Likewise, we wish to inform you that the majority of Iraqi representatives strongly reject any military-security, economic, commercial, agricultural, investment or political agreement with the United States that is not linked to clear mechanisms that obligate the occupying American military forces to fully withdraw from Iraq, in accordance with a declared timetable and without leaving behind any military bases, soldiers or hired fighters.

The chorus of disapproval is of substantial consequence, as it will require a two-thirds majority of the Iraqi Council of Representatives to ratify the security agreement that is currently being hashed out by Iraq and the United States. Congressman Bill Delahunt, who impaneled yesterday's hearings, has co-sponsored a bill with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro that "bars funding for any agreement that has not been approved by Congress."