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U.S. Rejects Putin's Call For Iraqi Timetable

19 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The United States has rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin's call for a timetable on foreign troop withdrawals from Iraq.

Putin, speaking on 18 August in Sochi, called for a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, saying they are considered "occupying forces" by many Iraqis. He also called for an international conference on Iraq by the end of the year.

Hours later in Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack reiterated U.S. President George W. Bush's assertion that making a deadline for troop withdrawals would only motivate terrorists. The spokesman added that a Russian delegation already attended an international conference on Iraqi reconstruction on 22 June in Brussels.

The statements came as militants killed 12 Iraqis and four U.S. troops in separate attacks in Iraq, one day after 43 people died in car bombings.

In Baghdad, Iraq's political leaders are expected to continue efforts today to agree on a draft constitution by 22 August, a new deadline set after they missed the original deadline of 15 August.


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