The U.S. ambassador to Iraq says Iraqi leaders have committed to a timeline aimed at curbing violence in the war-torn country.
Speaking Tuesday at a press conference in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad said he expects Iraqi officials to develop a plan within the next 12 months to meet key goals such as improving security and the economy.
He said Iraqi leaders "must step up" their efforts to reach those goals.
The top U.S. general in Iraq, General George Casey, also spoke at the press conference. He said Iraqi government forces should be able to take full control of security in the country within the next 12 to 18 months.
General Casey said the United States will continue to focus on reducing the number of its troops in Iraq. But he said he will ask for more U.S. troops if it is necessary.
Also Tuesday, the U.S. military said four more American service members died in combat. The latest deaths raise the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq this month to 91 -- the highest toll this year.
And U.S. forces continue house-to-house searches in Baghdad for an American soldier of Iraqi descent who has been missing since Monday. A statement released Tuesday said the man, who works as a translator, was kidnapped while visiting relatives.
Information for this report is provided by AP, afp, Reuters and Washington Post