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Biden Hails New Phase In Iraq Ties


Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (right) with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Baghdad on November 30.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (right) with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Baghdad on November 30.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says his country and Iraq are entering "a new stage of strategic relations," as U.S. troops prepare to pull out of the country by the end of the year.

Biden was speaking following talks in Baghdad with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on November 30, a day after arriving on a surprise visit to the Iraqi capital.

Besides Maliki, Biden also met President Jalal Talabani and parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi.

Baghdad and Washington failed earlier this year to come to an agreement on keeping a small American military presence in Iraq next year, meaning all U.S. forces must be out of the country by December 31.

Some 13,000 troops remain in Iraq, down from a peak of about 170,000.

compiled from agency reports
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