US: Iraq Pact Could Be Finalized Next Month

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The U.S. State Department's top Iraq adviser says he believes a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement will be finalized by the end of July.

The pact would establish a long-term security relationship between Iraq and the United States. It also would provide a legal basis for keeping American troops in Iraq after the U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

The State Department's top Iraq adviser, David Satterfield, says he believes the agreement "can be achieved, and by the end of July deadline." He spoke to reporters Tuesday in Baghdad.

There have been reports in Iraq and in Washington that talks over the agreement were stalled, and that it would not be finished before President Bush leaves office.

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