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Washington - The White House on Saturday for the first time claimed ownership of an Iraq withdrawal plan, arguing that a troop pullout blueprint unveiled this past week by a Democratic senator was "remarkably similar" to its own.
It also signalled its acceptance of a recent US senate amendment designed to pave the way for a phased US military withdrawal from the violence-torn country.
The statement by White House spokesperson Scott McClellan came in response to a commentary published in The Washington Post newspaper by Joseph Biden, the top Democrat of the senate foreign relations committee, in which he said US forces will begin leaving Iraq next year "in large numbers."