October 17th, 2011
06:54 PM ET

39,000 troops out by the end of year?

From CNN Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence

Secretary Panetta on Monday insisted negotiations are still on going between the United States and Iraq over whether the U.S. will keep troops in Iraq past December 31st.

"At the present time, I'm not discouraged because we're still in negotiations with the Iraqis,” said Panetta.

And while the Pentagon spokesman said time is running short, Panetta says there is no specific day when it will be too late to negotiate.

"There is no drop-dead date,” said Panetta

A senior military official tells CNN the US and Iraq could not agree on giving American troops immunity past the end of this year.

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