US will still stand by Iraq: Hillary

Without mentioning Iran by name, Hillary Clinton warned Iraq`s neighbours against meddling.

Dushanbe: The United States will continue to support Iraq as it moves toward democracy, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Saturday as she wrapped up a weeklong overseas trip.

Without mentioning Iran by name, Hillary warned Iraq`s neighbours against meddling and said the US and Iraq would remain close allies.

"As we open this new chapter in a relationship with sovereign Iraq, to the Iraqis we say: America is with you as you take your next steps in your journey to secure your democracy," she said.

"And to countries in the region, especially Iraqi`s neighbours, we want to emphasise that America will stand with our allies and friends, including Iraq, in defence of our common security and interests."

She said the United States would have a "robust, continuing presence throughout the region, which is proof of our ongoing commitment to Iraq and to the future of that region."

US President Barack Obama on Friday declared the more than eight-year Iraq war will be over by the end of the year and said that virtually all US troops will be brought home. Some 200 troops will remain to provide security at the US embassy and other offices.

Critics of the President warn that by withdrawing its troops, the US is giving Iran an opening to increase its influence in Iraq.

Hillary is due back in Washington on Sunday after stops in North Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Bureau Report

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