U.S. says hopes for agreement with Iraq soon

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) – The White House on Thursday said the United States hoped an agreement extending the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq beyond 2008 would be reached soon.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Baghdad and met with Iraqi officials this week. Discussions were ongoing and some progress had been made in recent days, but there was no final agreement yet, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

“The conversations that we’re having with the Iraqis now are based on the improvement in security and our mutual desire to bring more American troops home,” Johndroe said.

“The president and every American wants to see American troops come home, but not until the job is done and there is more security, more political progress, and more economic progress inside Iraq,” he said.

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