Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (left) shakes hands with Secretary of State Rice during her surprise visit today (epa)
April 2, 2006 -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a surprise visit to Baghdad, says "it's very clear" that the time has come for Iraqi politicians to agree on a national unity government.
Rice was speaking to reporters while flying to Baghdad today, accompanied by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. She and Straw later met in Baghdad
with President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari, and other leading officials.
Rice said the surprise visit is a sign of the urgency the United States and Britain attach to the formation of a government.
Negotiations on a new government have stalled amid ongoing sectarian violence, and Sunni and Kurdish opposition to al-Ja'fari continuing in office as prime minister for another term.