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Powell Makes Surprise Visit To Baghdad

Baghdad, 19 March 2004 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell began a surprise visit to Baghdad today on the eve of the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion that toppled President Saddam Hussein.

Citing security reasons, U.S. officials declined to disclose details of his visit. There has been a spate of attacks by insurgents against U.S. troops, Iraqis associated with the occupation, and foreign civilians.

Powell arrived in Iraq from Kuwait City, where he met with Kuwaiti officials. The Kuwait visit followed a three-day tour to India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Yesterday in Pakistan, Powell said that the United States will designate Pakistan as a "major non-NATO ally," opening Pakistan's way to international arms purchases and closer military cooperation with the United States.