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U.S. Troops To Leave Iraq 'Responsibly, Safely'

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- The United States will move "responsibly and safely" to reduce its military presence in Iraq under a "new course" the Obama administration will adopt, Washington's UN ambassador has said.

But Susan Rice, addressing the UN Security Council, gave no details of steps U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce on February 27 to begin pulling U.S. combat troops out of Iraq, invaded by U.S.-led forces in 2003.

"The United States will move responsibly and safely to reduce our military presence in Iraq," Rice said during a debate on UN activities in Iraq. The phrasing was consistent with wording previously used by Obama.

"Our bilateral security agreement with Iraq will frame the path ahead. And the process of redeploying our combat troops will be conducted in consultation with the government of Iraq and with its support," Rice said. "This carefully managed commitment to ending the war in no way diminishes America's long-term support for a sovereign, stable, democratic and prosperous Iraq that is a force for peace in a turbulent region."

Rice said that Iraq "remains an issue of great importance to the United States, but one on which the administration will steer a new course."