Mon Jul 7, 2008 10:54am EDT
By Dean Yates and Ahmed Rasheed
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the prospect on Monday of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops as part of negotiations over a new security agreement with Washington.
It was the first time the U.S.-backed Shi'ite-led government has floated the idea of a timetable for the removal of American forces from Iraq. The Bush administration has always opposed such a move, saying it would give militant groups an advantage.
The security deal under negotiation will replace a U.N. mandate for the presence of U.S. troops that expires on December 31.