WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Monday said Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq to participate in a change of command and change of mission ceremony, marking the end of U.S. combat missions in Iraq.
This is Biden's sixth trip to Iraq since January 2009. The United States ends its combat mission in Iraq on Aug. 31, having drawn down to fewer than 50,000 troops from approximately 144,000 troops in January 2009, according to a statement from the White House.
After the drawdown, the remaining troops will advise and assist Iraq's security forces, conduct partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protect U.S. civilians. In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011.
Biden will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim and other political leaders to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and to urge Iraqi leaders to conclude negotiations on the formation of a new government, according to the White House.
U.S. President Obama will deliver an address on Iraq on Aug. 31.
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