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US to set "time horizon" on troop cuts in Iraq

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US to set "time horizon" on troop cuts in Iraq

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The winds of change appear to be blowing through the White House over a reduction in US troops in Iraq. Despite President George Bush’s long opposition to deadlines, he has agreed to set up what Washington calls a “time horizon” for cuts.

In the closest the Bush administration has come to admitting the need for a timeframe, the White House now says that US and Iraqi negotiators will seek “aspirational goals” for withdrawals.

It follows a secure videoconference on Thursday between Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and President Bush.

The White House says the pair aim to complete a deal by the end of the month but it also stresses that any troop pullout will be based on conditions continuing to improve, with violence at a four-year low.