Iraq presidential council approves US status of forces agreement Jaclyn Belczyk at 3:14 PM ET
[JURIST] The Iraqi presidential council on Thursday approved a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) [draft text; CFR backgrounder] that sets a 2011 deadline for the withdraw of US troops but also approved an additional law calling for a national referendum on the pact in July 2009. The approval of the council, comprising President Jalal Talabani [BBC profile] and two vice presidents, was the final step required before the SOFA can go into effect on January 1, 2009, a day after the current UN mandate [UN press release] authorizing the US presence in Iraq expires.
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