February 12, 2009

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said on Wednesday he had been “reassured” by the United States that there would be no sudden pullout of American troops, despite an improving security situation.

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President Barack Obama’s desire to redeploy thousands of US soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan has raised expectations of a troop drawdown ahead of a 2011 deadline for leaving the country.

Zebari, however, insisted that there would be no sudden withdrawal.

“We have been reassured by the new administration that there will not be a major change, or a quick disengagement or quick pullout from Iraq,” he told reporters.

“They are committed to withdraw and withdraw responsibly as the president said many times, depending on considerations on the ground and consultations with the Iraqi government and military commanders.”

Security has improved dramatically in the past year, with the number of people killed falling significantly, although attacks in Baghdad and hotspots of the insurgency are still common.

Iraqi and US forces have especially focused on Diyala and Nineveh provinces, widely considered the country’s most dangerous despite what the US military says were sharp falls in the number of attacks in 2008.

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