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Iraq asks U.S. congressman to leave after he says they should ‘repay’ for war

Iraqi authorities have asked for a US congressman to leave the country after he called for Baghdad to repay part of the money spent by Washington since the 2003 invasion, a spokesman said on Saturday.

Republican representative Dana Rohrabacher's remarks at a news conference in Baghdad stood in stark contrast to those by senior American officials, who have pressed Iraqi officials to decide soon whether they want US troops to stay beyond a year-end withdrawal deadline.

"We called the US embassy yesterday and we told them to ask the congressmen to leave Iraq," government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told AFP. "We don't want them here. What they said was inappropriate."

Dabbagh said Rohrabacher and his congressional delegation had not raised the issue in a meeting with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, contradicting the US politician's comments that he had spoken about potential repayments with the Iraqi leader.

It was not immediately clear if Rohrabacher and the delegation were still in the country when the request was made.

"Once Iraq becomes a very rich and prosperous country... we would hope that some consideration be given to repaying the United States some of the mega-dollars that we have spent here in the last eight years," Rohrabacher told journalists at the US embassy on Monday.

Rohrabacher, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the US House of Representatives, declined to give specifics on how much should be repaid, or over how long.


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