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Rumsfeld Pays Surprise Visit To Baghdad

Donald Rumsfeld (file photo) 12 April 2005 -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has arrived in Baghdad this morning on a surprise visit to Iraq.

Rumsfeld said he will hold talks later today with Iraq's new Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'fari and President Jalal Talabani. CNN said he will also meet with U.S. military commanders and troops.

Speaking to reporters travelling with him from Washington, Rumsfeld said he would stress in talks with Iraqi leaders the importance of making government appointments for the good of Iraq and not based on party loyalties or retribution.

He said the United States opposed any move to delay the political schedule in Iraq, which includes drafting a new constitution by mid-August and national elections next December.


For the latest news and analysis on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".

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