Iraq's parliament on Thursday approved a landmark security pact with the United States that paves the way for U.S. forces to withdraw by the end of 2011.
Lawmakers in Iraq's 275-seat parliament passed the deal with a majority of 149 out of 198 present, Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani said.
Following are some details about the pact:
* The pact is called "Agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and their activities during their temporary presence."
* U.S. forces should withdraw from Iraqi towns by the end of June 2009 and leave the country entirely by 31 December 2011.
* U.S. contractors will be subject to Iraqi law and can be prosecuted in Iraqi courts. U.S. troops and Defense Department civilian employees will be subject to American military law, but the pact provides a mechanism that allows them to be tried in Iraqi courts in cases of serious, premeditated crimes committed while off base and off duty.
* The United States, which now holds about 17,000 detainees in Iraq, will lose the power to hold prisoners indefinitely without charge. U.S. forces must obtain an Iraqi arrest warrant within 24 hours of capturing suspects. Those already held without charge when the pact takes effect, and who are not subject to an Iraqi arrest warrant, should be freed in an organized fashion.
* All fixed buildings used by U.S. forces become the property of Iraq. All U.S. military bases are to be turned over to Iraq when U.S. forces withdraw from them.
* All military operations must be approved by a joint U.S.-Iraqi Committee. U.S. forces cannot search Iraqi homes without Iraqi permission.
* The pact is valid for three years. Either party can terminate it with one year's notice. It can be changed only by mutual consent.
* Referendum must take place by the end of July 2009. The referendum will not delay implementation of the pact on January 1 2008, since it goes into effect until the vote is done. Parliament will have to pass new legislation for the referendum.