Bush, al-Maliki discuss ‘time horizon’ for troops pullout from Iraq

July 19th, 2008 - 10:55 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 19 (DPA) US President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki agreed to set a “time horizon” for the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, but remained firm that pullouts will only take place as security improves, the White House said. Bush and al-Maliki held a video conference Thursday as the two countries continue negotiations to establish a legal agreement for the presence of US forces once the UN mandate expires at the end of the year.

The two leaders agreed that because of improved security, the agreement could include a “general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals such as the resumption of Iraqi security control in their cities and provinces and the further reduction of US combat forces from Iraq”, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

“The president and prime minister agreed that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground and not an arbitrary date for withdrawal,” Perino said.

Al-Maliki last week said he wanted the agreement with the US to include a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces, a move Bush has strongly opposed.

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