Obama to declare Iraqi combat mission over

14:06, September 01, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama is to declare the end of combat operations in Iraq in a nationally televised address from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, saying " tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended," according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House.

"Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country," Obama said, noting the United States has removed nearly 100,000 troops from Iraq, and closed or transferred hundreds of bases to the Iraqis.

The United States is ending its combat mission in Iraq on Aug. 31. U.S. mission there will be transferred to a civilian one on Sept. 1. About 50,000 U.S. troops left there will assume an advise and assist role to the Iraqi security forces.

Obama said the United States has "met our responsibility. Now, it is time to turn the page."

"Ending this war is not only in Iraq's interest -- it is in our own," Obama said. "Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work."

In the speech, Obama says it is important to strengthen the middle class, give all children the education they deserve, and workers the skills they need, as well as jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end dependence on foreign oil.

"This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as president."

Obama will speak about 15 minutes starting 8 p.m. EDT (midnight GMT), according to the White House. He visited troops in Fort Bliss, Texas, earlier in the day, thanking servicemembers who have fought the seven-year war, taking over 4,400 casualties.

Source: Xinhua


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