Mullen presses Iraqis to decide U.S. troop status

Just prior to a meeting of Iraqi lawmakers scheduled for Tuesday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said that Iraq needs to make a decision on the future of American forces "as soon as possible," according to The Washington Post.

Mullen added Tuesday in Baghdad that American troops should be given immunity from prosecution as part of any deal to keep them in the country.

Iraqi leaders including President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and top lawmakers are expected to discuss the long-awaited decision on Tuesday. But disagreements on how to move forward with the decision have prolonged the process, as U.S. leaders have grown increasingly frustrated.

Mullen, who met with Talabani and Maliki on Monday night, said that the leaders "are very aware of the urgency of the issue," but assured that "there are some very difficult political challenges, internal challenges associated with reaching this decision," according to The Post.

Still, Mullen said that the decision needs to come soon. "You get to a point in time where you just can't turn back, and all the troops must leave," he said, according to The Post. "That's why it's so important to make the decision absolutely as soon as possible."

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