BAGHDAD, Mar 12 (AFP): US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said Saturday that his country did not want permanent military bases in Iraq and that he was willing to talk to Iran about the war-torn country's future.
"We want Iraq to stand on its own feet, we have no goal of establishing permanent bases here," he said in an interview with Iraq's Ash-Sharqiya television, according to a transcript obtained by AFP.
"Our goal is a working, a workable government, so that we can leave Iraq and let Iraqis handle all their circumstance themselves. That's our goal, and were very serious about this, we mean it," he said.
The ambassador said he was willing to speak with Iran about Iraq's future, stressing however that the US would not let its concerns over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons' drive influence its policies in Iraq.
"I have offered to the Iranians that we are willing to talk with them about our differences with regard to Iraq," he said.
"Iran says that the United States wants to promote sectarianism here," he said. "I have talked to you about nothing but unity and the effort by others who are enemies of Iraq to promote sectarianism and division."