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Iraqi Prime Minister Wants More U.S. Business

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's visit to Washington comes as the last U.S. combat troops prepare to leave Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is urging more U.S. businesses to come to Iraq to help rebuild the economy.

"We have lots of American corporations in Iraq, however we are not satisfied with the number of American corporations in Iraq," Maliki told businessmen at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

"These corporations, really, thanks to them, they have broken the blockade against Iraq and they have contributed greatly to Iraqi development, however we aspire to have more American corporations and an increasing number of them participating in order to fulfill the needs of the Iraqi economy."

Maliki said Iraq believed the United States has the "best companies" to help it diversify its economy away from one heavily dependent on oil.

Earlier, Maliki met with the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, who said she approved of Iraq's $100 billion budget proposal for 2012.

Lagarde said the budget proposal called for little growth in current spending. She said that would free up funds "for infrastructure investment and social support."

Lagarde said the IMF remained committed to helping Iraq foster economic growth.

Maliki's visit comes as the final U.S. combat troops are set to withdraw from Iraq at the end of the month.