BAGHDAD - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki said on Saturday that presence of U.S. military trainers for the Iraqi forces will not need approval from the parliament, but any other U.S. mission must be agreed by the parliament."Clearly and accurately, I say the existence of trainers will not need approval from the parliament, but any soldier to stay out of the deals of purchasing weapons will need the parliament approval," Maliki said at a news conference after attending the Iraqi parliament session.
Maliki submitted a report to the parliament about the readiness of the Iraqi security forces, showing the need of U.S. trainers to teach how to use new weapons that Iraq purchased.
"The report pointed out that U.S. trainers need to train Iraqi forces to use these weapons," Maliki said without giving further details. Maliki also told reporters that Iraq works on reviving the procurement of 36 F-16 fighter jets instead of 18 as in the previous deal.
"Two days ago I signed a letter to send an Iraqi air force delegation to revive the deal of F-16 and we will replace 18 with 36 fighters," Maliki said.
Earlier, Iraq was due to buy 18 F-16 fighter jets, but the deal was delayed since the fund was reallocated to support the country's poor basic services. U.S. military forces are to pull out completely from Iraq by the end of 2011, according to the security pact named Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which was signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.
However, Iraqi political leaders have repeatedly failed to give final decision about the extension of the U.S. troop's presence in the country beyond the end of 2011. (Xinhua)