NATO closes up training mission in Iraq

December 17, 2011 20:12

BAGHDAD - NATO closed its seven-year training mission in Iraq on Saturday, at the same time as US troops withdraw from the country after the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The alliance said on Monday it would end its mission after talks with Iraqi officials to extend the program failed, due to disagreements over legal framework covering NATO forces in Iraq.

"We respect the decisions of a sovereign Iraq and salute the fact that Iraqi is fully responsible for directing its own path," NATO training mission commander Lieutenant General Robert Caslen said at the closing ceremony.

American forces signed over their last military base to Iraqi officials on Friday following a formal ceremony to end nearly nine years of war in Iraq.

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