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Baghdad's Green Zone Going Public

A bird's-eye photo of Baghdad's Green Zone

A bird's-eye photo of Baghdad's Green Zone

BAGHDAD -- The so-called Green Zone, Baghdad's heavily fortified diplomatic and government compound, is going public.

The Iraqi government says it plans to open the Green Zone to the public for the first time since its establishment in 2003, Iraq's minister of state for national security, Sherwan al-Waeli, told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq.

Al-Waeli said that because entire stretches of concrete walls have to be dismantled and checkpoints removed, the process will be gradual.

The United States formally relinquished control of the area on January 1, a date Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has proposed be recognized as the country’s “day of sovereignty.”