The signing of a long-awaited agreement between the US and Iraq has taken place in Baghdad. Iraq’s foreign minister and the American ambassador to Iraq have put their names to a deal that requires Washington to withdraw its troops within three years.
The pact still has to be passed in the Iraqi parliament, but the government is confident that will happen by the end of the month.
The deal includes a long-term strategic framework in numerous areas including the economy, culture, health and trade.
But the main focus for the Iraqis is the date for the withdrawal of a US force that now numbers about 150,000, and the placing of the soldiers under Iraqi jurisdiction.
The US president-elect, Barack Obama, had vowed to take quick action to bring soldiers home from Iraq when he takes office in January.
He has also vowed to make it a priority to close down the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, as promised during his election campaign.