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Iraq cabinet approves legislation for foreign troop withdrawal

[JURIST] The Iraqi cabinet on Wednesday approved draft legislation that would require most non-US foreign troops to leave Iraq by mid-2009. The legislation must now be submitted to the Iraqi parliament [official website] for approval. A government spokesperson said that Iraq would retain the right to ask some countries to stay [DPA report]. Also on Wednesday, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown [official website] announced that British troops will withdraw [press release] from Iraq by July 2009.

US troops may remain in Iraq until 2011 under the recently approved [JURIST report] Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) [text, PDF; CFR backgrounder]. The SOFA, which takes effect at the end of the year, also gives Iraqi courts limited jurisdiction [JURIST report] over American military personnel and eliminates immunity [JURIST report] for US defense contractors working within Iraq.

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