BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met Tuesday with the nation's president and two vice presidents to review a "final draft" of the security pact with the United States — a first step in a process that could end in an agreement governing U.S. troops in Iraq.
Yassin Majid, a senior adviser to Maliki, did not say whether the draft resolved the contentious issue of legal immunity for U.S. troops, the last major obstacle standing in the way of a deal.
Although Iraqi officials had said the issue was unresolved, Majid's use of the phrase "final draft" suggested that negotiations have ended.
The meeting with President Jalal Talabani and the Sunni and Shiite vice presidents was the first in a series of planned sessions aimed at measuring political support for the agreement before Maliki submits it to Parliament for a final decision.
Majid said the prime minister will show the draft today to the Political Council for National Security, a consultative body that includes the prime minister, Talabani, the two vice presidents, leaders of political blocs and the Parliament speaker along with his two deputies.
Aides to Maliki said the draft calls for U.S. troops to pull out of Iraqi cities by the end of June and leave Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, unless the Baghdad government asks them to stay. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are sensitive.