Backgrounder: Evolution of political process in Iraq
Backgrounder: Iraq on the eve of U.S. troop withdrawal
|Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki speaks during a joint news conference in Arbil, 310 km north of Baghdad, August 8, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
BAGHDAD, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki assured Iraqis on Tuesday that his security forces are capable of taking over responsibility of security control in the country as the U.S. troops formally ended its combat mission in Iraq.
"I assure you (Iraqi people) that Iraqi forces are qualified and capable of taking over responsibility of the security in the country," Maliki said in a televised address to mark the U.S. combat troops withdrawal from Iraq.
Maliki promised Iraqis that there is no more sectarian strife in the country pledging that his government will not allow such strife to come back.
Maliki reviewed in his speech the accomplishments of the Iraqi security forces in fighting terrorism and the killing of top Qaida leaders "Abu Omer al-Baghdadi and Aba Ayyub al-Masri" and many other Qaida and insurgent groups leaders.
"The Iraqi security forces success in halting sectarian war and effectively striking Qaida create a proper ground for signing the security agreement (Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA) with the United States in November 2008," Maliki said.
"The withdrawal (of U.S. troops) is an accomplishment for all Iraqis and we are looking forward to pick its fruit as security, stability and prosperity," he said.
"Iraq is sovereign and independent country," Maliki said.
Maliki also criticized some Iraqi parties, which he didn't name, who are carrying out campaigns of doubts about the capability of the Iraqi security forces to handle the security control in the country after the U.S. troops' withdrawal.
"We are sure that the strategic goal behind such organized campaigns is to hamper the (U.S. troops) withdrawal process for the benefit of political parties which have dubious agendas," Maliki said.
He also said that the relation between Iraq and the United States has started a new stage; from military cooperation to the implementation of the Strategic Framework Agreement, the second agreement that was together signed with the SOFA between Baghdad and Washington late in 2008.
Maliki's address came as the U.S. military formally end its combat mission in Iraq and its troops had been reduced to below 50, 000 soldiers ahead of the August deadline set by U.S. President Barack Obama. Washington said that the remaining U.S. troops will remain in Iraq to conduct support and training missions.
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Special Report: Situation in Iraq