WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- With the last U.S. troops on their way out of Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the countries are "sovereign equals."
U.S. forces are required under the terms of a bilateral status of forces agreement to leave the country by the end of the month, marking an end to a military intervention that began in 2003.
An Iraqi delegation arrived Monday in Washington to meet their U.S. counterparts as the withdrawal nears completion.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the end to the military engagement as "historic" for both countries.
"Now, our new beginning is founded in mutual understanding, shared interests and mutual respect for each other as sovereign equals," she said during a news conference with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. "We share the same goal, building a self-reliant Iraq with a government that is able to serve the needs of the Iraqi people."
Zebari said the bilateral relationship with the United States was developing along civilian and diplomatic fronts.
NATO announced Monday it was ending its training mission in Iraq after it was unable to get immunity assurances from Baghdad.
Iraqi security forces told CNN that at least seven people were killed in targeted shootings and explosions across the country Tuesday.