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US help not needed in combat after June 30: Iraq PM

Iraq will not call on US forces to take part in combat operations after they pull out from urban centres in two weeks, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in remarks published on Monday.

world Updated: Jun 16, 2009 14:26 IST

Iraq will not call on US forces to take part in combat operations after they pull out from urban centres in two weeks, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in remarks published on Monday.

Maliki told French daily Le Monde that his government would only request American logistical assistance, a day after the top US commander in Iraq said the American pull out was on schedule.

"We will not ask them to intervene in combat operations or in operations related to maintaining public order," the Iraqi premier said. "It is finished."

Maliki said Baghdad would only call on US forces "for transporting our troops when we need them because we don't have any planes. That is why we are purchasing helicopters from France and the United States."

He did not expect "an explosion in violence after June 30," the date by which US troops must leave Iraq's cities, towns and villages as part of a landmark security accord between Washington and Baghdad that will see American forces leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

"Regardless, reports from the Americans themselves say our forces are ready to take over," Maliki added. "There will be no turning back, there is no question of reviewing the agreement on the American withdrawal."

On Monday, US General Ray Odierno, the top US commander in Iraq, told reporters that the majority of his troops had already left Iraqi cities ahead of the June 30 pull out, and added that the withdrawal was on schedule.