Iraqi parliament to vote on US pact Wednesday

Iraq's parliament speaker has ended the debate on the proposed Iraq-US security agreement and set Wednesday for a vote on the deal, which would allow US troops to stay in Iraq for three more years. He says the vote can be held earlier if the legislature's main blocs reach an agreement on the pact before Wednesday. The decision by Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani followed a six-hour debate Saturday in which some two dozen lawmakers spoke. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said he wanted the deal approved by consensus, and the country's most influential cleric has indicated the deal would be acceptable only if it wins by a big majority.