WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- U.S. forces have overcome the initial difficulties in the security handover to the Iraqi military under the terms of a bilateral security pact, commanders say.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Daniel Bolger, the commander of Multinational Division-Baghdad, acknowledged initial setbacks in the wake of a U.S. troop drawdown but said the transition was proceeding more smoothly, the U.S. Defense Department says.
"Despite those initial frustrations, it seems to be going well," he said. "I think each day that goes by we get a little bit better at working together."
U.S. combat forces pulled back to their bases in Iraq under the terms of a bilateral security agreement with Baghdad on June 30. Bolger said, however, that around 2,000 troops remained in the cities as a residual force.
Iraqi leaders have complained the continued activity of American forces in Iraqi cities violates the terms of the security pact. Bolger said there were some difficulties in the transition, but added most were settled diplomatically.
"There have certainly been some scenes where an American or an Iraqi commander have to come out of their vehicles and walk up and figure out what's going on," he said.
Iraq has witnessed a spate of violence in the period surrounding the U.S. troop deadline, with gunmen Wednesday killing five Iranian pilgrims in Diyala province.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, meanwhile, arrived in Washington on Wednesday to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss political and security developments in Iraq.