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BAGHDAD — Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said Thursday the two countries have agreed that timetables should be set for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the battle-scarred country.
Appearing together at a news conference, Rice and Zebari mutually asserted that a final agreement between Washington and Baghdad on a withdrawal plan and accompanying strategic framework pact is close to fruition _ but not there yet.
"We have agreed that some goals, some aspirational timetables for how that might unfold, are well worth having in such an agreement," Rice told reporters after meeting with Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The two sides had come together on a draft agreement earlier this week and Rice made an announced visit to Baghdad to press officials there to complete the accord.