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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 August 2006, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Iraq president upbeat on security
Iraq President Jalal Talabani
President Jalal Talabani says Iraqis will "gradually" take control
Iraqi forces will take over the security of the entire country from US-led forces by the end of the year, President Jalal Talabani says.

"Iraqi security forces will gradually take security responsibility by the end of this year for all the provinces of Iraq," he told a news conference.

The pledge comes a day after dozens died in attacks across Iraq.

US commanders have recently moved 3,700 troops from Mosul to Baghdad to bolster the capital's fragile security.

'Highly optimistic'

Baghdad has recently seen a wave of violence between Sunni and Shia militias, and from kidnap gangs and criminals.

Some of the country's lawmakers have called for the government to replace the interior ministry with another body, as the ministry has not been able to halt the wave of violence, news agency AP reported.

Iraqi leaders have said previously that foreign troops will be able to leave Iraq in the near future - but Mr Talabani's comment is the most detailed yet.

The southern province of Muthanna, one of the most peaceful in the country, came under the control of Iraqi security units last month.

"We are highly optimistic that we will terminate terrorism in this year," Mr Talabani added in his statement.

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