Iraqi PM says his troops ready to take over security
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki said Saturday that his country's security forces have proved that they are ready to take over security responsibilities from the Americans.
"The Iraqi security services and armed forces have proven, through tests, their ability and efficiency in establishing security in all the provinces," Maliki said in a statement issued by his office on Saturday.
Maliki's comments came after U.S. President Barak Obama made a phone call with him late on Friday, in which Obama briefed Maliki on his plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, reported XInhua.
"The two leaders also agreed on the need to provide the Iraqi troops with equipment and weapons to fight terrorists and protect the country from any foreign threats," the statement said.
On Friday, Obama announced a plan to withdraw most troops from Iraq by the end of August 2010, leaving about 35,000 to 50,000 of the current total of around 140,000 troops behind. The task of the left behind troops would mainly be counterterrorism and training duties.
"I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months," Obama said in a live-broadcast speech delivered at the Marine base of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Obama also promised to pull home the last of the U.S. troops by the end of 2011 in accordance with a deal that Iraqis signed with former President George W. Bush.
"Under the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government, I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011," Obama said.