In Baghdad, Biden Affirms U.S. Commitment to Troop Withdrawal Deadlines

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports:

Vice President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today in Baghdad and the two discussed the agreement regarding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Biden reiterated the previously agreed-to deadlines for withdrawal.

“We will also move ahead on other aspects of our security agreement by removing all US combat brigades from Iraq by the end of August 2010 and all remaining US troops by the end of 2011,” Biden said.

Maliki said the steps taken so far under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) were going on “with a high credibility and taking their normal course.”

Neither Biden nor Maliki took questions from reporters.

Maliki spoke at length about the investment conference that will take place in Washington, D.C. in October for foreign investors looking for business opportunities in Iraq.

The Iraqi prime minister said he and Biden spoke of the need for the conference to be a success in order to provide investment opportunities and advance legislative reforms needed for investment.

“We're expanding our economic partnerships, and we very much look forward to the Iraqi Business and Investment Conference that was also referenced that is going to be held in Washington next month and which we believe will help bring together American and Iraqi businesses for additional economic activity in Iraq,” Biden said.

There was a lighthearted moment at the start of the vice president’s otherwise serious remarks.

Biden started speaking and seemed to be on a roll when Maliki leaned in to remind him that he needed to stop in order to let the Arabic translator do her work.

“I’m very tired,” Biden said to laughter. The vice president then laughed himself and patted Maliki on the back as the translator began to speak.

After she finished relaying his opening statement, Biden said, “My compliments to the interpreter.”

-Karen Travers

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