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U.S., Iraq to embark on new phase of ties after troop pullout

(Xinhua)

13:43, December 01, 2011

BAGHDAD, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that his country and Iraq are embarking on a new phase of relations as the U.S. troops' complete withdrawal is underway.

"Our troops are leaving Iraq, and we are starting a new path together, a new phase of this relationship between two sovereign nations," Biden said at a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki before the two leaders hold a meeting in Baghdad Green Zone.

"This (new relationship) is marking a new beginning that will not only benefit the United States of America and Iraq. I believe it will benefit the region and will benefit the world," Biden said.

"We will continue to discuss with your government over the substance of our security arrangements, training, intelligence and counter-terrorism," Biden said.

For his part, Maliki stressed that his country and the United States are looking forward to establishing such a successful relationship, calling on the U.S. companies to invest in Iraq.

Biden arrived in Baghdad late on Tuesday on a surprise visit with the aim of meeting with top Iraqi officials to discuss the U. S. troop withdrawal and relations between the two countries after the pullout of U.S. troops by the end of this year.

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 (SOFA) signed late in 2008 between Baghdad and Washington.

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