Iraq War ending Dec. 31st

Dec 12, 2011, 10:21 by R.E. Christian

A NATO-led training mission for Iraqi military forces will come to an end by Dec. 31 after nearly seven years, the NATO secretary-general said Monday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki arrived in Washington this week to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama. All U.S. forces must be out of Iraq by the end of the month under the terms of a status of forces agreement.

Baghdad had considered an extension, though the deal collapsed after the U.S. military was unable to get immunity assurances from Iraqi lawmakers.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced Monday that the NATO training mission in Iraq was met with a similar fate.

Rasmussen said the mandate for the training mission was ending because agreements on the extension weren't possible despite several weeks of negotiations.

Nevertheless, the secretary-general said that, with more than 15,000 security personnel in Iraq trained by NATO, the commitment to Iraq was durable.

"We are determined to build on the success and the spirit of our training mission to further strengthen our partnership and political relationship with Iraq, so that together we can continue to contribute to regional peace and stability, which is beneficial for the whole international community," he said in a statement.

Source: UPI