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Democratic lawmakers renew call for withdrawal timetable
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09:16, July 11, 2007

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U.S. Senate Democrats renewed on Tuesday their call for a timetable for withdrawing American troops out of Iraq, saying that the Iraqi government has made no progress to meet the benchmarks set up by the United States.

Democratic Senators Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Jack Reed unveiled legislation that would order President George W. Bush to begin reducing U.S. in 120 days and end combat operations in Iraq by April 30 next year.

The measure, as an amendment to a defense bill for next year, would allow some U.S. troops to stay in Iraq to operations against terrorism, protect American facilities and train the Iraqis.

"There is much too little pressure on Iraqi leaders to do what they have to do," Levin said.

The Bush administration was to deliver a report on Iraq to Congress this week, and the report was expected to say that Iraq has not met key security, political and economic targets.

White House spokesman Tony Snow confirmed earlier Tuesday that the report would say that Iraq has not met all the benchmarks the United States had set for it.

Bush, who in May vetoed a war spending bill that would have set a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops out of Iraq, launched a campaign Tuesday to defend his Iraq war policy.

In a trip to Ohio, Bush said U.S. troops levels in Iraq "will be decided by our commanders on the ground, not by political figures in Washington.

"I fully understand that this is a difficult war, and it's hard on the American people. But I will once again explain the consequences of failure to the American people, and I'll explain the consequences of success," he said.

Currently there are about 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and more than 3,600 American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the country since the war started in March 2003.

Source: Xinhua



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