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Iraqi PM Disputes Report On Withdrawal Plan
But a spokesman for al-Maliki said his remarks "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately."
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the possibility of troop withdrawal was based on the continuance of security improvements, echoing statements that the White House made Friday after a meeting between al-Maliki and U.S. President Bush.
In the magazine interview, Al-Maliki said his remarks did not indicate that he was endorsing Obama over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain.
"Who they choose as their president is the Americans' business. But it's the business of Iraqis to say what they want. And that's where the people and the government are in general agreement: The tenure of the coalition troops in Iraq should be limited," he said.
The interview's publication came one day after the White House said President Bush and al-Maliki had agreed to include a "general time horizon" in talks about reducing American combat forces and transferring Iraqi security control across the country.
The Bush administration has steadfastly refused to consider a "timetable" for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
In a statement issued Friday after a conversation between Bush and al-Maliki by closed-circuit television, the White House said that conditions in Iraq would dictate the pace of the negotiations and not "an arbitrary date for withdrawal."
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