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Iraq calls US pullback from cities 'big victory'

Iraq’s prime minister says the withdrawal of US troops from urban areas by the end of this month will be a 'big victory' for the nation.
AP | By HT Correspondent, Baghdad
UPDATED ON JUN 20, 2009 07:20 PM IST

Iraq’s prime minister says the withdrawal of US troops from urban areas by the end of this month will be a “big victory” for the nation.

Nouri al-Maliki says militants will try to stage more attacks but Iraqi security forces won’t let them reverse security gains.

A US-Iraqi security pact requires the Americans to pull back combat troops from cities by June 30 as a first step toward a full withdrawal by 2012. The deal includes a provision for the Iraqi government to ask for US help if violence surges.

But al-Maliki says any extension would show a lack of confidence and be a “historic setback.”

He says “we will not retreat no matter what happens.”

Al-Maliki spoke Saturday to members of the Turkomen ethnic minority.

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