`US partnership with Iraq based on mutual respect`
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Last Updated: Wednesday, September 01, 2010, 12:25
  
Washington: The US President Barack Obama has vowed to have enduring partnership with Iraq based on mutual interest and respect.

"Our combat mission is ending, but our commitment to Iraq's future is not," Obama said in his address to the nation from his Oval Office as he announced the end of combat mission in Iraq.

A transitional force of US troops will remain in Iraq, he said, with a different mission: advising and assisting Iraq's Security Forces; supporting Iraqi troops in targeted counter-terrorism missions; and protecting our civilians.

"Consistent with our agreement with Iraqi government, all US troops would leave by the end of next year. As our military draws down, our dedicated civilians diplomats, aid workers, and advisors are moving into the lead to support Iraq as it strengthens its government, resolves political disputes, resettles those displaced by war, and builds ties with the region and the world," Obama said.

He said this new approach reflects the US long-term partnership with Iraq one based upon mutual interests, and mutual respect.

"Of course, violence will not end with our combat mission. Extremists will continue to set off bombs, attack Iraqi civilians and try to spark sectarian strife," Obama said.

"But ultimately, these terrorists will fail to achieve their goals. Iraqis are a proud people. They have rejected sectarian war, and they have no interest in endless destruction. They understand that, in the end, only Iraqis can resolve their differences and police their streets, he said.

The President said that "only Iraqis can build a democracy within their borders and America will provide support for the Iraqi people as both a friend and a partner." Obama said ending the combat mission in Iraq was his pledge to the American people as a candidate for this office.

"We have removed nearly 100,000 US troops from Iraq. We have closed or transferred hundreds of bases to the Iraqis. And we have moved millions of pieces of equipment out of Iraq. This completes a transition to Iraqi responsibility for their own security.

"US troops pulled out of Iraq's cities last summer, and Iraqi forces have moved into the lead with considerable skill and commitment to their fellow citizens," Obama said.

"Even as Iraq continues to suffer terrorist attacks, security incidents have been near the lowest on record since the war began. And Iraqi forces have taken the fight to al Qaeda, removing much of its leadership in Iraqi-led operations," said the US President.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, September 01, 2010, 12:25


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