BAGHDAD (AP) ó Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malikiís ruling Shiite coalition withheld support Sunday for the proposed security pact that would keep U.S. troops here for three more years, dealing a setback to American hopes of a speedy approval of the agreement.Quote has been trimmed
The statement by the United Iraqi Alliance called for unspecified changes to the draft agreement, which parliament must ratify by the end of the year when the United Nationsí mandate expires. The groupís move comes a day after tens of thousands of demonstrators, mostly Shiites, took to the streets of Baghdad to protest the agreement.
The Shiite alliance holds 85 of parliamentís 275 seats and al-Maliki needs solid support from the alliance to win approval of the agreement by a strong majority.
The 30 legislators loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have already said they will vote against the agreement, and some Sunni legislators have spoken out against it too.
Hassan al-Suneid, a member of the alliance from al-Malikiís party, said members had reservations about portions "that donít comply with Iraqís sovereignty."