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Obama Hails Withdrawal Of Combat Troops From Iraq

U.S. President Barack Obama (file photo)
U.S. President Barack Obama said in his weekly radio broadcast to the nation that Washington's withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq this month was an "important step forward in responsibly ending the Iraq war."

He said the withdrawal also fulfills promises he made when he campaigned for the presidency.

"As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that is what I am doing," Obama said.

"I have brought home more than 90,000 troops since I took office. We have closed or turned over to Iraq hundreds of bases. In many parts of the country, Iraqis have already taken the lead for security.

Obama said that "like any sovereign, independent nation, Iraq is free to chart its own course. And by the end of next year, all of our troops will be home."

He spoke as the United States' combat mission in Iraq officially ends on August 31.

The number of U.S. troops in Iraq is now less than 50,000 and those who remain are to assume an advisory and training mission before their departure by the end of 2011.

compiled from agency reports