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'Dramatic' consequences without US-Iraq troop accord: Gates

Kazakhstan withdraws troops from Iraq
Kazakhstan on Tuesday pulled its small contingent of about 30 military engineers out of Iraq, the defence ministry of the ex-Soviet state said in a statement. "On October 21, Kazakhstan's engineering-demining detachment was withdrawn from Iraq," the ministry said. The withdrawal took place "at the request of the Iraqi government and in connection with the significant stabilisation of the situation" in the Middle Eastern country, it added. On Monday, the Kazakh troops and the last 85 Georgian soldiers in Iraq left Kut, 175 kilometres (109 miles) south of Baghdad, after a ceremony to hand over responsibility for their mission to Iraqi forces. The troops from the oil-rich Central Asian state were responsible for demining operations. Kazakhstan committed its first contingent to the US-led coalition in Iraq in August 2003.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 21, 2008
US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned Tuesday of "pretty dramatic" consequences of not having an accord governing the presence of US troops in Iraq.

"The consequences of not having a SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) and of not having a renewed UN authorization are pretty dramatic in terms of consequences for our actions," said Gates, speaking to members of three news agencies including AFP.

A status of forces agreement would replace the current UN mandate -- which expires December 31 -- as the legal basis for the US military presence in Iraq.

"Clearly, the clock is ticking," said Gates. "Clearly there is a need to keep moving just so that we don't run out of time."

According to Gates there are "only two alternatives: the SOFA or a renewed UN mandate, and going back to the UN at this point there is no assurance that you get a clean rollover," Gates said.

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US insists Iraq pact guarantees sovereignty
Baghdad (AFP) Oct 20, 2008
The United States insisted on Monday that a planned security pact with Baghdad would ensure full Iraqi sovereignty as local leaders pored over the deal amid fierce opposition by some key players.

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