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    U.S. to stick to Iraq troop withdrawal timeline - Pentagon

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    The U.S. has not changed the schedule of troop withdrawal from Iraq and all U.S. combat forces will be removed from the country by the end of July 2010

    WASHINGTON, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - The U.S. has not changed the schedule of troop withdrawal from Iraq and all U.S. combat forces will be removed from the country by the end of July 2010, a spokesman for the Department of Defense said Friday.

    "The [Iraq drawdown] timelines that the United States government and the Iraqi government have set out have not changed," Bryan Whitman said in response to a journalist's question.

    Iraq will hold parliamentary elections January 16, and general elections January 30, and certain media assumed this could affect the drawdown schedule voiced by President Barack Obama.

    "Obviously we are encouraging that they go through with the elections as their constitution states that they have to," Whitman said, adding that U.S. troop withdrawal plans remain flexible in light of conditions on the ground.

    "About 120,000 U.S. troops are now in Iraq. By the end of July 2010, about 50,000 U.S. troops will be in Iraq, when the U.S. military mission there transitions from combat to stability operations," the Department of Defense said on its website.

     

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