Bush silent on Iraqi withdrawal demand

The United States said Tuesday it would not divulge details of talks with Iraq over a security agreement, after Baghdad threatened to reject any pact unless it contained a specific timetable for withdrawal of US-led foreign forces.

"During this entire process, we have said a couple of things consistently — number one, this is going to be a negotiation, discussion between sovereign countries; number two, we at least are not going to be talking about any components of this during the process," said State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos.

Iraq’s national security advisor Muwaffaq al-Rubaie said on Tuesday that Baghdad "will not accept any memorandum of understanding if it does not give a specific date for a complete withdrawal of foreign troops."

On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Arab ambassadors in Abu Dhabi that he was seeking a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops as part of a security agreement with Washington.

It was the first time Baghdad’s Shiite-led government has demanded such a schedule for a troop withdrawal.