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Iraq will insist on a specific timetable for withdrawal of coalition forces before signing any accord on security with the US, a senior government official said Tuesday. National Security Adviser Mouwaffak al-Rubaie's remarks went even further than those of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who said Monday that he expected "some type" of schedule for a pullout. President Bush has said he opposes a timetable. To date, the US has handed control in nine of Iraq's 18 provinces to government forces.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed an agreement Tuesday in Prague to base the radar portion of a proposed US missile defense system in the Czech Republic. But she appeared to rule out a stop in neighboring Poland, whose leaders have yet to agree on basing another part of the system there.

The US "has lost its fame" under Bush, and Israel will collapse without any interference from Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday, adding, "I assure you, there won't be any war [with either nation] in the future." Ahmadinejad spoke a day after Iran's Revolutionary Guard warned that Israel and US naval units in the Persian Gulf would be "set on fire" in the event either tried to launch a preemptive attack.

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