Let's try to connect the dots for you, Sonnabend.
∑ Story Highlights
* NEW: Condoleezza Rice says deal outlines Iraqi sovereignty, U.S.-Iraq relationship
* NEW: Rice speaks after meeting with Iraqi prime minister on unannounced visit
* Trip comes amid reports of preliminary deal on the future of U.S. troops in Iraq
* Iraqi official says U.S. troops to be out of cities June 30, 2009
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Washington and Baghdad are close to completing the terms of a bilateral pact that, among other things, might outline how long U.S. troops will remain in Iraq, the top U.S. and Iraqi envoys said Thursday.
The United States and Iraq "are working together as partners to make certain we cover the concerns of both parties," including Iraqi sovereignty and the nature of the war-ravaged nation's relationship with the U.S., Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said hours after arriving in Iraq on an unannounced visit.
Speaking alongside Rice at a news conference, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said that "there has been a great deal of progress" in formulating a U.S.-Iraqi strategic framework agreement and both sides are "very close to finalizing" the pact.
Rice met earlier with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Shortly after arriving in Baghdad, Rice said she planned to meet with top Iraqi officials on the status of negotiations to keep U.S. forces in Iraq after the expiration of a U.N. Security Council resolution later this year.
Rice said she thought it "might be useful to come out at this stage and get an update and be able to go back and brief the president" on what remains to be done.
"It's a very gratifying time because we're in a position where we believe we're going to be able to hand most security functions to the Iraqis," Rice said.
If you’re one of the bad guys in Iraq - hearing this - are you going to waste you ammo now, or are you going to wait until June? Or maybe even 2011? Do you remember when it was "a vile betrayal of our troops" and the mission to set a ‘withdrawal deadline.’
Guess that time has passed.