24 Dec 2008

Iraqi MPs back foreign troop deal

1:55 pm on 24 December 2008

Iraqi MPs have authorised the government to sign agreements allowing British and other non-United States troops to stay on in the country after 2008.

They approved the move after speaker Mahmoud Mashhadani resigned, ending a political impasse.

The US earlier struck its own security pact to keep troops in Iraq to 2011.

The foreign troops' mandate runs out on 31 December, after which they require a new legal basis to be in Iraq.

Most of the non-US foreign troops currently deployed in Iraq are British. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says these troops are due to leave Iraq by the end of July next year.

Other foreign, non-US troops include Australians and Romanians.

Tuesday's vote ends a week of uncertainty over the legal status of British, Australian and other foreign troops in Iraq.