Kerry to introduce Iraq withdrawal plan

June 12, 2006 at 12:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., will this week introduce legislation to pull the majority of U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2006, his office announced.

Kerry will offer an amendment to the 2007 defense authorization bill.

The recent trend in Iraq has been to increase rather than decrease American troops. Earlier this month the U.S. military announced that 3,500 troops -- two battalions of a brigade that was being held in Kuwait as a back up force -- had been deployed to Anbar province, the heart of the insurgency. Those battalions joined another that had already been called forward to Baghdad.

Kerry's amendment would hinge on establishing a schedule with the Iraqi government.

"This will legitimize the new Iraqi government, enable the Iraqis to become more self-reliant, and undermine support for the insurgency," the announcement from his office said.

Under Kerry's plan, not all U.S. troops would leave Iraq. Those "essential to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces would remain," the announcement said.

The United States would maintain presence in the region "to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests."

Finally, his amendment will call on President George W. Bush to convene a summit including the new Iraqi government, leaders of the governments of each country bordering Iraq, representatives of the Arab League, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, representatives of the European Union, and leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council to reach reach an agreement on Iraq's fundamental political challenges -- whether and how the country will be federalized along geographic lines, how oil revenues are to be divided, what to do about sectarian militias, security guarantees, reconstruction, economic assistance and border security, Kerry's office said.

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