The U.S. ambassador says the Iraqi Cabinet's approval of a security pact extending the presence of American forces in Iraq for three years is "historic."
Ambassador Ryan Crocker made his comments Monday during a largely symbolic signing ceremony with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. The deal still needs parliamentary approval.
Crocker notes the agreement also deals with cooperation in other fields.
He says "it reminds us all that at a time when U.S. forces will continue to withdraw from Iraq ... our relationship will develop in many other important ways."
The Cabinet approved the pact Sunday after getting the green light from Iraq's pre-eminent Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. That followed months of painstaking negotiations.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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