US will move responsibly to reduce troops in Iraq

The United States will move "responsibly and safely" to reduce the US military presence in Iraq, US Ambassador Susan Rice told the UN Security Council on Thursday. She said the process of redeploying American combat troops will be carried out in consultation with the Iraqi government "and with its support." Rice provided no details on the US withdrawal plan, which President Barack Obama is expected to announce as early as Friday. A US-Iraq agreement reached in December before former President George W. Bush left office calls for US combat troops to withdraw from Baghdad and other cities by the end of June, with all American forces out of the country by the end of 2011. Obama's told lawmakers Thursday he would bring most of the 142,000 forces home by August 2010 but could leave as many as 50,000 troops in Iraq for cleanup and protection operations, US officials said.