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Iraq's prime minister says he wants a short-term agreement with United States

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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraq's prime minister says he is discussing a short-term memorandum of understanding with U.S. officials instead of trying to hammer through a formal agreement on the presence of American forces in the country.

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Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says his government proposed the memorandum after widespread opposition to U.S. demands made in talks on a formal Status of Forces Agreement. The agreement would keep U.S. troops in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires at year's end.

Al-Maliki says the proposed memorandum includes a formula for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

President Bush has said he opposes the idea of a specific timetable.

Al-Maliki's comments Monday came in a meeting with several Arab ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates in that country's capital, Abu Dhabi.

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