Iraq unveils plan for US troop cut | india | Hindustan Times
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Iraq unveils plan for US troop cut

Muwaffaq Rubaie spoke at a seminar with US Defence Secy Donald Rumsfeld, who did not comment on the Iraqi assertion.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 13:25 IST

Iraq has a plan that could lead to a "sizeable" reduction in US forces this year and the withdrawal of most US troops within a couple of years, Iraq's national security chief said on Friday.

Muwaffaq Rubaie spoke at a seminar with visiting US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who did not comment on the Iraqi assertion.

"We have a definite plan now for a conditions-based agreement between the Iraqi security forces, between the Iraqi government and the United States government for the Iraqi security forces to assume responsibility gradually," Rubaie said.

"Certainly at the end of this year there would be a sizeable gross reduction of troops," he said. "In the next couple of years we would hope that most of the coalition forces will go back home safely."

Rumsfeld, under fire back home for his Iraq strategies, called on Iraq's leaders to begin discussions on the future of the US military during meeting on Thursday.

"The question of our forces' levels here will depend on conditions on the ground and discussions with the Iraqi government which will evolve over time," he told reporters.

US troops face a steady insurgency against their presence in Iraq while US officials have said they cannot pull out while sectarian violence persists between the Sunni and Shiite communities.

General George Casey, the head of US-led forces in Iraq, said yesterday he was still on his "general timeline" for recommending further reductions in the 132,000-strong US force.