NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) — Top Iraqi Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani insists that the security pact being negotiated with Washington must not harm Iraq's sovereignty, his office said on Wednesday.
"Ayatollah Ali Sistani insists that the sovereignty of Iraq not be touched and he is closely following developments until the final accord has been clarified," said his office in the holy city of Najaf, south of Baghdad.
The statement was issued after a visit by two Shiite MPs.
The Iraqi cabinet on Tuesday authorised Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to negotiate changes in the security pact with Washington that sets a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces.
But the White House has said it was wary of making any changes after months of complex negotiations.
Several Iraqi leaders have opposed the pact, especially radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr whose supporters have regularly come out on the streets of Baghdad to protest.
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