Hagel: Time to Accept Iraqi Soveirgnty In Real Ways

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) stressed that the United States should start "unwinding" its military presence in Iraq to allow the country to determine its own future.

Hagel, who visited Iraq this week with Barack Obama and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), said that the trip reinforced his belief that Iraqis understand that they'll be in charge of their country.

"And it is now time for the United States to start accepting the sovereignty of that country in ways that are real," said Hagel during a news conference in Jordan. "And that means for us to responsibly start unwinding our military presence. We have interests in Iraq. We will have interests in Iraq. But, listening to the Iraqi people and their leadership, and where they think they can go and want to go, and need to go, to build a nation that is not only sovereign and independent, but a nation that can govern itself, defend itself, and support itself."

Hagel made his remarks in Amman before introducing Obama. Both senators have supported a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq.