BAGHDAD — Iraq's foreign ministry said Thursday that Iraqi and U.S. officials are seeking a compromise on the pending issues over a new security agreement between the two countries.
The statement came a day after Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari met with President Bush to discuss the security agreement meant to replace the U.N. mandate for foreign forces, which expires at the end of the year.
"Both sides agreed on finding suitable solutions for pending issues in order to reach an agreement that answers their needs," the ministry said.
Later Thursday, the White House said Bush discussed the ongoing negotiations during a teleconference call with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and that the dialogue over the agreement was "proceeding well."
"President Bush confirmed the United States' commitment to forge an agreement that fully respects Iraqi sovereignty," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
Iraqi officials and lawmakers have opposed the proposed pact, claiming it infringes on Iraq's independence and sovereignty.
They criticized the purported failure of the United States to offer a firm commitment to defend the country from any invasion and a demand for immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for all American personnel in Iraq.
Also in contention has been the number of bases the United States would maintain in the country and whether the U.S. military will retain the power to arrest Iraqi civilians and keep them in U.S. detention facilities.