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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (file photo) (epa)
July 17, 2007 -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that any abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq could deepen the crisis there.
Ban said the United States and the international community have a responsibility not to abandon the Iraqi people.
Ban's comments come ahead of a meeting on July 17 at the White House with President George W. Bush, who is facing growing pressure from Congress and the U.S. public to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
The U.S. Senate, meanwhile, is scheduled to be in session later the same day to debate a Democratic plan requiring the pullout of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of April 2008.
On July 16, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said he hoped Iraqi forces would have enough training by the end of the year to take over security duties from the coalition troops.
In the latest violence in Iraq, a triple bombing on July 16 in the northern city of Kirkuk killed more than 80 people and injured 200.
(compiled from agency reports)