WASHINGTON (AP) — The top American commander in Iraq says he is confident that he can safely reduce U.S. troops levels to 50,000 by the end of August, as promised by President Barack Obama.

Gen. Ray Odierno (oh-dee-EHR'-noh) told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday that there are now 88,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

Odierno also said he does not believe that security in Iraq will deteriorate during the period of U.S. withdrawal. He said the reason is that Iraqi forces are now in the lead throughout the country, with U.S. troops mainly advising and assisting them.

Odierno met with Obama on Wednesday at the White House.