Friday, August 1 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-08-01 16:04:18 GMT
Two American tourists charged with "anti-state" crimes in North Korea said Friday they expect to be tried soon and pleaded for help from the U.S. government to secure their release from what they say could be long...More >
Two American tourists charged with "anti-state" crimes in North Korea said Friday they expect to be tried soon and pleaded for help from the U.S. government to secure their release from what they say could be long prison...More >
Friday, August 1 2014 11:55 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:55:19 GMT
Presidents from the West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak are meeting with world health leaders to come up with ways to stop the spread of the deadly disease.More >
An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than the efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned as presidents from the affected countries met...More >
Friday, August 1 2014 11:45 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:45:59 GMT
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah says the Gaza war is a "collective massacre" that has spared no Palestinian living there and describes it as a "crime against humanity."More >
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah condemned the war in Gaza Friday as a "collective massacre" and a crime against humanity, but stopped short of directly condemning Israel for its ground campaign against Hamas.More >
Friday, August 1 2014 11:34 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:34:05 GMT
A three-day cease-fire in the Gaza Strip has gone into effect following heavy Israel-Hamas fighting.More >
A Gaza cease-fire quickly unraveled on Friday as violence erupted in and around a southern town in the war-ravaged strip, with at least 40 Palestinians killed in Israeli shelling while the military said two soldiers were...More >
Friday, August 1 2014 11:33 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:33:44 GMT
Ukrainian authorities say at least 10 government troops have been killed in an ambush by pro-Russian separatist rebels in an area near the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.More >
With the sound of artillery blasts at a distance, 70 international investigators arrived Friday at the eastern Ukraine site where Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed and started recovering the remains of as many as 80...More >
Friday, August 1 2014 11:14 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:14:45 GMT
A strong explosion ripped through the main police building in Benghazi early Friday, nearly flattening it, days after Islamic militias overran army barracks and claimed control of the eastern Libyan city.More >
Tunisia closed its main border crossing with Libya on Friday after thousands of stranded Egyptian and foreign nationals, fleeing militias' fighting and violence in Libya, tried to break through the passage, the...More >
Friday, August 1 2014 10:49 AM EDT2014-08-01 14:49:30 GMT
The top diplomats of Italy and Poland are competing for the prestigious position of EU foreign policy chief amid the unfolding tensions with Russia.More >
As the European Union struggles to respond to what it perceives as Russia's aggressive meddling in Ukraine, Italy and Poland are staking their claims to provide the bloc's new foreign-policy chief - kicking off a...More >
Friday, August 1 2014 9:55 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:55:27 GMT
Bassem Abul Qumbus looked in despair at the wreck of his home. Shells had punched holes in an upper-floor bedroom. A wall had collapsed into the kitchen. The dozens of baby chicks he'd been raising on the roof...More >
Bassem Abul Qumbus looked in despair at the wreck of his home. Shells had punched holes in an upper-floor bedroom. A wall had collapsed into the kitchen. The dozens of baby chicks he'd been raising on the roof were...More >
(RNN) - The following is a transcript of President Barack Obama's remarks on the end of the Iraq War.
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. As a candidate for president, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end - for the sake of our national security and to strengthen American leadership around the world. After taking office, I announced a new strategy that would end our combat mission in Iraq and remove all of our troops by the end of 2011.
As commander-in-chief, ensuring the success of this strategy has been one of my highest national security priorities. Last year, I announced the end to our combat mission in Iraq. And to date, we've removed more than 100,000 troops. Iraqis have taken full responsibility for their country's security.
A few hours ago I spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki. I reaffirmed that the U.S. keeps its commitments. He spoke of the determination of the Iraqi people to forge their own future. We are in full agreement about how to move forward.
So today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over.
Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq - tens of thousands of them - will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home. The last American soldier[s] will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops. That is how America's military efforts in Iraq will end.
But even as we mark this important milestone, we're also moving into a new phase in the relationship between the U.S. and Iraq. As of Jan. 1, and in keeping with our Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, it will be a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect.
In today's conversation, Prime Minister Maliki and I agreed that a meeting of the Higher Coordinating Committee of the Strategic Framework Agreement will convene in the coming weeks. And I invited the prime minister to come to the White House in December, as we plan for all the important work that we have to do together. This will be a strong and enduring partnership. With our diplomats and civilian advisors in the lead, we'll help Iraqis strengthen institutions that are just, representative and accountable. We'll build new ties of trade and of commerce, culture and education, that unleash the potential of the Iraqi people. We'll partner with an Iraq that contributes to regional security and peace, just as we insist that other nations respect Iraq's sovereignty.
As I told Prime Minister Maliki, we will continue discussions on how we might help Iraq train and equip its forces - again, just as we offer training and assistance to countries around the world. After all, there will be some difficult days ahead for Iraq, and the U.S. will continue to have an interest in an Iraq that is stable, secure and self-reliant. Just as Iraqis have persevered through war, I'm confident that they can build a future worthy of their history as a cradle of civilization.
Here at home, the coming months will be another season of homecomings. Across America, our servicemen and women will be reunited with their families. Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.
This December will be a time to reflect on all that we've been though in this war. I'll join the American people in paying tribute to the more than 1 million Americans who have served in Iraq. We'll honor our many wounded warriors and the nearly 4,500 American patriots - and their Iraqi and coalition partners - who gave their lives to this effort.
And finally, I would note that the end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition. The tide of war is receding. The drawdown in Iraq allowed us to refocus our fight against al-Qaeda and achieve major victories against its leadership - including Osama bin Laden. Now, even as we remove our last troops from Iraq, we're beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan, where we've begun a transition to Afghan security in leadership. When I took office, roughly 180,000 troops were deployed in both these wars. And, by the end of this year, that number will be cut in half. And make no mistake: It will continue to go down.
Meanwhile, yesterday marked the definitive end of the Gadhafi regime in Libya. And there, too, our military played a critical role in shaping a situation on the ground in which the Libyan people can build their own future. Today, NATO is working to bring this successful mission to a close.
So to sum up, the U.S. is moving forward from a position of strength. The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this year. The transition in Afghanistan is moving forward, and our troops are finally coming home. As they do, fewer deployments and more time training will help keep our military the very best in the world. And as we welcome home our newest veterans, we'll never stop working to give them and their families the care, the benefits and the opportunities that they have earned.
This includes enlisting our veterans in the greatest challenge that we now face as a nation - creating opportunity and jobs in this country. Because after a decade of war, the nation that we need to build - and the nation that we will build - is our own, an America that sees its economic strength restored just as we've restored our leadership around the globe.