From TPM a morning teleconference between Bush and Maliki –
— Iraq’s leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America, and we seek an enduring relationship with a democratic Iraq. We are ready to build that relationship in a sustainable way that protects our mutual interests, promotes regional stability, and requires fewer Coalition forces.
— In response, this Declaration is the first step in a three-step process that will normalize U.S.-Iraqi relations in a way which is consistent with Iraq’s sovereignty and will help Iraq regain its rightful status in the international community â€“ something both we and the Iraqis seek. The second step is the renewal of the Multinational Force-Iraq’s Chapter VII United Nations mandate for a final year, followed by the third step, the negotiation of the detailed arrangements that will codify our bilateral relationship after the Chapter VII mandate expires.