All US Troops to Leave Iraq by Year’s End

Posted October 21st, 2011 at 2:15 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year.

The president made the statement Friday after a videoconference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

In remarks in the White House press briefing room, Mr. Obama said, “Our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.” He said he and Mr. Maliki were in agreement on that decision.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. relationship with Iraq will enter a “new phase” based on mutual interest and mutual respect. He said the U.S. will partner with an Iraq that contributes to regional security and peace, and he added that Washington expects other nations to respect Iraq's sovereignty.

Mr. Maliki released a statement shortly after Mr. Obama's announcement. The statement said he and Mr. Obama had identical viewpoints in terms of starting a new relationship after troop withdrawal is complete at the end of the year.

Previously, the possibility had remained that U.S. troops would extend their presence in the nation past the December 31 deadline set in 2008. Mr. Obama and Mr. Maliki had been negotiating that issue.

The war in Iraq, begun in March 2003, is one of the longest military conflicts in U.S. history. More than 4,400 U.S. troops have died in the conflict.