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US, Iraq agree on troop withdrawal

world Updated: Aug 21, 2008 15:11 IST

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The US has reached an agreement with Iraq to withdraw a part of its forces from the Iraqi cities by next summer as a prelude to a full withdrawal from the country, a media report said on Thursday.

The draft agreement sets 2011 as the date by which all US troops will leave Iraq, the Wall Street Journal said quoting Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Haj Humood.

Teams of American and Iraqi negotiators spent months haggling over the deal which will be presented to the Bush administration and the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for formal approval or rejection, the journal said.

"The talking is done," a US official said late last night. "Now the decision makers choose whether to give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down."

The precise terms of the agreement, the paper said, weren't clear till yesterday and the deal's final status likely will remain unsettled for at least a few more weeks.

Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, cautioned that the deal was not yet complete. "Discussions are ongoing with the Iraqis to finalise a bilateral agreement," he said.

"We are working to complete the agreement, but it is not final yet," he added.

The deal represents a remarkable turnaround from just a few months ago, when talks about timetables and deadlines were routinely dismissed by the Washington.