US President George W Bush on Saturday said a US-Iraqi security pact approved by the Iraqi parliament this week shows how far US efforts in that country have come since the controversial 2003 invasion, dpa reported.
In his weekly radio address, Bush praised the so-called Status of Forces Agreement that authorizes US troops' presence after the UN mandate under which they are operating expires and also sets a timeline for US withdrawal from Iraq. Under the deal, US forces will leave Iraqi cities by the end of June 2009 and exit the country entirely by 2011.
He also lauded an agreement outlining the countries' relationship, including trade and investment and support of Iraqi institutions.
"As we enter this new phase in America's relations with Iraq, we have an opportunity to adopt a new perspective here at home," Bush said.
"There were legitimate differences of opinion about the initial decision to remove Saddam Hussein and the subsequent conduct of the war. But now the surge and the courage of brave Iraqis have turned the situation around. And Americans should be able to agree that it is in our nation's strategic and moral interests to support the free and democratic Iraq that is emerging in the heart of the Middle East."
He praised the sacrifices of US troops and the Iraqi people in the long conflict, in which more than 4,000 Americans and by some counts 100,000 Iraqis have died.
"The American people have sacrificed a great deal to reach this moment," he said, adding: "The war in Iraq is not yet over - but thanks to these agreements and the courage of our men and women in Iraq, it is decisively on its way to being won."