WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Defense officials are seeking to minimize reports that Iraqi leaders have asked that 5,000 U.S. troops remain in the country after the end of the year, saying negotiations are moving ahead but aren't finished.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Iraq, says the key question is what missions the troops would be doing if they remain. He says no decisions have been made. The two sides have been at odds over whether American troops would continue to have sufficient legal protections, an issue the U.S. considers a potential deal-breaker.
Published reports in Iraq Wednesday suggested that the Iraqis had requested that 5,000 U.S. forces remain as trainers.
Obama administration officials have said they are considering leaving 3,000 to 5,000 troops for an Iraqi training mission.
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