WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. and Iraqi negotiators working to hammer out a security agreement may have to settle for a short-term deal, a U.S. official said Monday.
The official said a temporary deal likely will be signed by the end of the month, but a status of forces document, which would clarify the terms of U.S. troop involvement, would take longer to reach.
The U.S. military presence is spelled out by a U.N. mandate, which will expire by the end of the year. Iraq and the United States want to replace that mandate with a status of forces agreement spelling out how U.S. troops operate.
The Bush administration had been hoping to hammer out such an agreement by the end of July, but there have been unresolved issues between the two countries.
Among the tough issues on the table have been legal immunity for U.S. troops for any crime, authority for U.S. combat and detainee operations, and a U.S. troop withdrawal timetable.
The official said the temporary operating protocol would serve as a bridge document governing the operation of troops while negotiators continue to bargain over a status of forces agreement.
Officials hope to come up with a strategic framework agreement by the end of the month. It would be a comprehensive document spelling out the strategic relationship between Iraq and the United States in many areas.
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