WASHINGTON - The United States on Sunday hailed the approval by Iraq's government of a military pact that requires the withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2011, saying it was "an important and positive step." "We welcome the Iraqi Cabinet's approval of the agreement today. This is an important and positive step," said National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe. "While the process is not yet complete, we remain hopeful and confident we'll soon have an agreement that serves both the people of Iraq and the United States well and sends a signal to the region and the world that both our governments are committed to a stable, secure and democratic Iraq," the White House official said. Iraq's cabinet on Sunday approved unanimously the long-awaited security pact, under which U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraq's cities, towns and villages by June 30 next year to their bases and will leave the country on Dec. 31, 2011. The draft pact will be sent to Iraq's parliament for final approval.