x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Iraq takes control of the Green Zone

Iraq's prime minister said the handover of the heavily fortified Green Zone and the presidential palace is the most visible sign his country has regained its sovereignty.

BAGHDAD // Iraq's prime minister said the handover of the heavily fortified Green Zone and the presidential palace is the most visible sign his country has regained its sovereignty. Nouri al-Maliki spoke today during a ceremony marking the takeover by the Iraqi authority of Saddam Hussein's large palace. The takeover is part of a security deal with the United States. The palace served as the US Embassy and headquarters of the US military in Iraq until a new American embassy was built nearby.

Mr al Maliki said he will propose Jan 1 as a national holiday to commemorate what he described as "Sovereignty Day" - the day Iraq took the lead in security from US forces, including of its airspace, and reclaimed a wide swath of downtown Baghdad's "Green Zone". *AP