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Photo Credit: U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Leland White

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:10 P.M.) – A spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf, confirmed on Sunday that Iraq and the United States will discuss next June the setting of timetables for the complete withdrawal of American forces from the country.

Major General Khalaf said, in a statement with the Iraqi Al-Sabah newspaper, that “the decision to conduct negotiations comes in accordance with the decisions of the Iraqi Council of Representatives for the exit of the American forces, and that is with the agreement of the Iraqi and American parties, and that the security relationship between Iraq and the United States will continue in the framework of training operations and exchange of experiences even if the decision is implemented pulling out”.

He said that “the Iraqi government received a message from the American side, which was positive and included discussing the strategic relationship in all its forms between the two sides in detail,” stressing that “Iraq will discuss the withdrawal of foreign forces in a serious and detailed manner.”

The spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces indicated that “the United States has significantly reduced its forces in agreement with the Iraqi government as a goodwill gesture and there is understanding and positive signals.”

He stated that the negotiations will discuss all forms of relationship between the two countries in the economic, political, security and cultural fields established within the strategic framework agreement signed between the two countries, saying: “Iraq wants a normal relationship and friendship with the United States.”