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US Senate Majority Leader Rejects Democrats' Call for Iraq Withdrawal


U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has rejected a call from rival Democrats to phase out American troops from Iraq this year.

Frist said pulling out of Iraq is not an option. He made the comment Tuesday as the Senate resumed debate on the government's defense authorization bill.

Opposition Senate Democrats have drafted a non-binding resolution urging the withdrawal to begin this year.

Senator Richard Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said the Iraqis must be responsible for their own future.

Majority Leader Frist has accused Democrats of having a "cut and run" strategy that threatens national security and poses unacceptable risks to Americans.

The Democratic measure is not expected to receive the 51 votes needed to attach it to the defense bill.

Last week, lawmakers in both houses of the Republican-led Congress rejected timetables for withdrawing from Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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