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Biden Celebrates Independence Day With Troops In Iraq


U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (right) along with General Ray Odierno (center) and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on July 3
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is marking America's Independence Day with U.S. troops in Iraq.

Accompanied on his visit by wife, Jill, the vice president greeted troops at a U.S. military base near Baghdad and praised their sacrifices.

He said the United States remains committed to helping Iraq become a secure and prosperous country.

"This nation, once embroiled in sectarian strife and violence, is moving toward a lasting security and prosperity with a government that represents the interest of every member of the community in Iraq," Biden said. "Because until they get that straight -- and they are getting it straight -- there is no real shot they can become what they are capable of.

"The United States is committed. We are committed to cement that relationship through economic, political, and diplomatic cooperation -- not just by the use of arms."

The U.S. vice president also held meetings in Baghdad today with Iraq's two top political leaders in an effort to speed up the process of forming a new government.

Biden met separately with both Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his chief challenger, former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Iraqi politicians have been bickering over who should have the right to form a new government since the March 7 parliamentary elections, which left the country without a clear winner.

Maliki and Allawi largely have been driving the delays as each tries to build a majority in parliament.

compiled from agency reports