London, Nov 17 : The Iraqi cabinet has reportedly approved a hard-fought security pact with the US, under which all American troops would withdraw from the country in three years, thereby putting an end to the US-led occupation of Iraq.
But, the security arrangement will have to clear its final hurdle that of being ratified by the fractured Iraqi parliament today. The agreement was discussed for months together, but nine cabinet members failed to turn up at the meeting in which the agreement was adopted, reported The Independent.
The deal with the US raises expectations that Britain is on the point of agreeing a similar pact on the withdrawal of its 4100 troops from southern Iraq, it added.
""The total withdrawal will be completed by 31 December 2011. This is not governed by circumstances on the ground. This date is specific and final," the paper quoted Ali al-Dabbagh, an Iraqi cabinet spokesman, as saying.
Meanwhile, the White House welcomed the Iraqi cabinet approval, which is seen as a boost for President-elect Barack Obama who has promised to begin withdrawing US soldiers as soon as he takes office in January - as an "important and positive step".