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Iraqi PM Travels To U.S. As Troop Pullout Nears End

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is in Washington as the U.S. troop withdrawal from his country enters its final days.

Maliki is due to hold wide-ranging talks with U.S. President Barack Obama during his two-day visit, which comes less than a month before the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops who have been based in the country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Ali Mussawi, a media adviser to the Iraqi prime minister, said the trip would "open a new phase of relations between Baghdad and Washington."

The U.S. military withdrawal leaves behind an Iraqi security force with more than 900,000 troops.

Meanwhile, Iraq's national security adviser says NATO will not extend its training mission in the country beyond the end of the year because Baghdad would not grant its soldiers immunity from prosecution.

Falah al-Fayadh told the French AFP news agency that Baghdad was informed of the decision on December 8.

However an unidentified NATO official in Brussels denied the assertion, telling AFP: "There hasn't been a decision yet."

compiled from agency reports