Iraqi PM calls U.S. troops' pullout "great victory" 2009-06-20 21:32:21   Print

    BAGHDAD, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Saturday that the U.S. troops' withdrawal from Iraqi cities and towns by the end of this month would be a "great victory" for Iraqis.

    "It is a great victory for Iraqis as we are going to take our first step toward ending the foreign presence in Iraq," Maliki said during a conference in Baghdad for leaders of ethnic Turkmen minority.

    However, Maliki warned that militant groups would try to stage more attacks to reverse security gains, calling on Iraqis to unite to stop them.

    "They (militant groups) are preparing themselves to move in the dark to destabilize the situation, but we will be ready for them," Maliki said.

    A series of deadly attacks rampant during the past few months in Iraqi cities, casting doubt on the ability of Iraqi security forces to take over from U.S. troops in controlling security and defeat insurgency of both Shiite and Sunni militant groups in the war-torn country.

    As part of a security pact signed between Baghdad and Washington last year, U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraq's cities, towns and villages by June 30, 2009 to their bases, and will leave the country by December 31, 2011.

Special Report: Tension escalates in Iraq

Editor: Bi Mingxin
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