Iraqi PM meets U.S. joint chief chairman in Baghdad

20:38, December 13, 2010      

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Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Nuri al-Maliki on Monday met with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staffs, who paid a surprise visit to Iraq, an official television reported.

"The two discussed political and security developments in Iraq, in addition to the U.S. troops withdrawal by the end of next year, " the state-run channel of Iraqia said.

Maliki confirmed during the meeting that the Iraqi security forces are capable of handling the security responsibility, the channel said.

For his part, Mullen renewed the U.S. support to Iraq in all fields, stressing his country's adherence to all its commitments toward Iraq, it said.

The top U.S. military officer arrived in Baghdad earlier in the day in an unannounced visit to meet with his troops in Iraq ahead of the final year of their mission in the country.

Mullen's visit came as Maliki is in the midst of forming a new government ahead of the deadline of Dec. 25.

U.S. troops in Iraq had been reduced to below 50,000 soldiers. Washington said the remaining troops will remain in Iraq to conduct support and training missions.

U.S. military forces are to pull out completely from Iraq by the end of 2011 according to the security pact named Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.

Source: Xinhua
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