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Monday, July 7, 2008

Improvements in Iraq and Arab support may bring troops home from Iraq

From Reuters:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki raised the prospect on Monday of setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops as part of negotiations over a new security agreement with Washington....It was the first time the U.S.-backed Shi'ite-led government has floated the idea of a timetable for the removal of American forces from Iraq. The Bush administration has always opposed such a move, saying it would give militant groups an advantage....In a statement, Maliki's office said the prime minister made the comments about the security pact -- which will replace a U.N. mandate for the presence of U.S. troops that expires on December 31 -- to Arab ambassadors in the United Arab Emirates.....The United Arab Emirates has cancelled almost $7 billion of debt owed by Baghdad, officials said on Sunday. And Jordan's King Abdullah is expected to visit Baghdad soon, the first Arab leader to do so since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003....The statement from Maliki's office did not specifically refer to the 150,000 American troops in Iraq, but they comprise the vast bulk of foreign forces in the country....

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