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President Obama lauded the U.S. military in Baghdad on Tuesday during an unannounced visit to Iraq, reminding troops that the next 18 months will be difficult as the United States plans to start withdrawing its forces.

"I was just discussing this with your commander, but I think it's something that all of you know. It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis," Obama said, according to a transcript from the White House. "They need to take responsibility for their country and for their sovereignty.

"And in order for them to do that, they have got to make political accommodations. They're going to have to decide that they want to resolve their differences through constitutional means and legal means. They are going to have to focus on providing government services that encourage confidence among their citizens." Read full article »

CNN's Ed Henry and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

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