Iraqi prime minister lashes out at US critics

Iraq's prime minister lashed out Wednesday at American criticism, saying no one has a right to put timetables on his elected government. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki blamed the US presidential campaign for the recent tough words from the Bush administration and from other American politicians. "No one has the right to place timetables on the Iraq government. It was elected by its people," he said at a press conference in Damascus at the end of a three-day visit to Syria. "Those who make such statements are bothered by our visit to Syria. We will pay no attention. We care for our people and our constitution and can find friends elsewhere," al-Maliki said.