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U.S., Iraq building long-term, comprehensive partnership: Obama

(Xinhua)

08:12, December 13, 2011

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- The United States and Iraq are building a long-term and comprehensive partnership, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday after meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the White House.

The president made the remarks as the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq enters its final days, with nearly all forces scheduled to be pulled out by the end of this year.

"After nearly nine years, our war in Iraq ends this month," Obama said at a joint press conference with al-Maliki. "Today, only several thousand troops remain there. And more are coming home every day."

The number of U.S. troops in Iraq has been reduced to about 6, 000, down from 170,000 at the war's peak in 2007.

It was time to "begin a new chapter in the history between our countries. A normal relationship between sovereign nations. An equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect," Obama said.

Iraq has "a strong and enduring partner in the United States of America," he said. "Simply put, we are building a comprehensive partnership."

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