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Iraqis hold first talks on keeping U.S. troops

- Associated Press - Monday, June 20, 2011

BAGHDAD — Iraq's top political factions are discussing whether to ask the U.S. to leave some troops currently in the country beyond the Dec. 31 withdrawal deadline.

Monday's meeting at Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Baghdad residence was attended by the prime minister, as well as senior Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish politicians.

It was the first high-level meeting to discuss the upcoming withdrawal. No details were released.

In a brief statement following the discussions, Talabani said another meeting will be held "soon" to come up with a unified political decision. He didn't set a date.

Last month, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said American leaders asked Baghdad for an answer before August so they can start withdrawing the 47,000 remaining U.S. troops.

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