Iraq takes control of Green Zone from US

January 1, 2009 14:03

Iraq's prime minister says the handover of the heavily fortified Green Zone and the presidential palace is the most visible sign his country has regained its sovereignty. Nouri al-Maliki spoke Thursday during a ceremony marking the takeover by Iraqi authority of Saddam Hussein's large palace. The takeover is part of a security deal with the United States. The palace served as US Embassy and headquarters of the US military in Iraq until a new American embassy was built nearby. Al-Maliki says he will propose January 1 as a national holiday to commemorate what he described as "Sovereignty Day" - the day Iraq took the lead in security from US forces, including of its airspace, and reclaimed a wide swath of downtown Baghdad's "Green Zone."

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