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Archive for Monday, July 16, 2007

White House rejects GOP calls for withdrawal

July 16, 2007

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— The White House said thanks but no thanks Sunday to a GOP plan to get out of Iraq, as Iraqis dialed back from their leader's boast the U.S. could leave "anytime they want."

Republican Sens. John Warner of Virginia and Richard Lugar of Indiana want President Bush to draw up a plan by Oct. 16 to change the mission in Iraq and pull out most troops.

They don't go as far as Democrats, who want a deadline, but they say the withdrawal should begin in January.

National security adviser Stephen Hadley dismissed the senators' request. When asked on "Fox New Sunday" if the White House would consider such a proposal, Hadley flatly said, "No."

He said the White House would wait until Sept. 15, when Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus reports on progress of the administration's surge before considering a change in course.

Meanwhile, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki went too far in his claim Saturday that Iraqi forces were ready to stand on their own and the U.S. can leave when it wants.

"I think the presence of these forces still will be needed. The situation is volatile. It is not stable," Zebari said Sunday.

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