Rice Reaches Draft Deal For Iraq Troop Withdrawal

Iraq and the United States have set a preliminary timetable for withdrawal of American forces from Iraqi cities by next June, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Thursday.

Zebari made the announcement after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The negotiations over a time frame for withdrawal come after President Bush's repeated insistence that setting any schedule for U.S. troops to leave would be dangerous.

The draft agreement with Iraq would link troop reductions to achievement of certain security milestones, although the details have not been made public.

Rice and Zebari, appearing together at a news conference, asserted that the proposed deal reflects growing confidence in the ability of Iraqi forces to secure the country. A final agreement would require endorsement of the proposed deal by top Iraqi leaders and the Iraqi parliament.

From wire reports.



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