The Bush Administration has consistently emphasized that the agreement needed to legalize the presence of American forces after the United Nations mandate expires at the end of this year, is still in draft form, The New York Times reported.
Maliki seemed to be referring to all foreign troops in his statements; Iraqi negotiators have said recently that an agreed-upon 2011 date is for combat forces only, and that 'training and support' forces could remain after that if invited by the Iraqi government.
On Monday, a senior Iraqi official said he understood that even a departure date for combat troops would be conditions driven.
But the Prime Minister is under intense political pressure to take a hard line against the Americans, even as his government engages in the back-and-forth of negotiations.
Maliki also said that there were other parts of the security pact on which the sides had yet to agree. Those points of dispute, he said, include Iraqi approval of American military operations and the conditions under which American soldiers will be granted immunity.
"There are some articles on which we are stopped. Unless these articles are changed, it will be hard for this agreement to pass," he said.
Iraq is prepared to grant immunity to American soldiers who are on bases or are conducting military operations, the Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said in a telephone interview, but insists that they be subject to Iraqi law in any other circumstances.