Bush, Iraqi leader co-host thank-you for coalition

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- President Bush and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani have formally thanked the dwindling coalition of countries who contributed to the war effort in Iraq.

More than two dozen countries were honored last night at a low-profile gathering on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Bush told the group of representatives that they helped Iraq become a "hopeful example for nations around the world."

At its height, the U.S.-led coalition included 50,000 troops from more than three dozen countries other than the U.S. But over the next 90 days or so, the White House says the global coalition will shrink to just a handful of nations.

Iraq is negotiating with the U.S. and other countries on deals for them to remain in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires at the end of the year.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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