WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that street celebrations in Iraq for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from cities and towns were a testament to the sacrifices of U.S. troops in the country.
In brief remarks at a White House event on technological innovation, Obama said the drawback meant that Iraq's future was now in the hands of its leaders and people.
"The Iraqis are rightly treating this day as a cause for celebration," Obama said, calling the "important milestone" the result of the good work by U.S. forces who first entered Iraq in 2003 and toppled the regime of former leader Saddam Hussein.
Obama warned of tough times ahead in Iraq, noting a bombing earlier Tuesday in Kirkuk that killed at least 30 people. He said the United States would continue to support Iraq as it works to become "a "sovereign, stable, and self-reliant" country.
The U.S. withdrawal was part of an agreement signed last year between former President George W. Bush's administration and the Iraq leadership. The agreement calls for all U.S. forces to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
The remaining 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are now tasked with supporting Iraqi troops and police, and will require Iraqi permission to launch operations in the cities.
Listen: New CNN poll numbers about the U.S. troop withdrawal in Iraq