Iraq and the United States signed a long-awaited accord on Monday requiring Washington to withdraw its forces by the end of 2011, eight years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
The pact, which must still be passed by the Iraqi parliament, was signed by Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker at a ceremony ending months of negotiations on the future of the U.S. presence.
“Definitely, today is an historic day for Iraqi-American relations,” Zebari told reporters after exchanging signed copies with Crocker. Both men smiled and enthusiastically shook hands as officials applauded.
The two men also signed a long-term strategic framework, which Crocker said would define the countries’ ties for years.