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News, March 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


Cheney and McCain in Baghdad to Press for a Long-Term US Military Presence in Iraq

Cheney in unexpected visit to Iraq  

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq

Monday , 17 /03 /2008  Time 11:52:06    

Baghdad, Mar 17, (VOI)-

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, on Monday, arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit during which he is expected to hold meetings with American military commanders and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other officials.

The spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Baghdad Mirembe Nantongo told Aswat al-Iraq –Voices of Iraq- (VOI) that Cheney "arrived in Iraq today and will meet with U.S. military leaders and Ambassador Ryan Crocker in addition to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi officials."

This visit comes in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion on Iraq. It was on March 17, 2003, President gave former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein a 48 hours ultimate to step down or to face the war. It also comes in the framework of a tour by Vice President Dick Cheney in the Middle East started the Sultanate of Oman and will also include Saudi Arabia and Israel, the West Bank and Turkey. On Sunday, the Republican candidate for the U.S. presidential elections, John McCain, arrived in Baghdad on unannounced visit which is the eighth since the fall of the former regime in 2003. SK

Premier receives McCain  

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq

Monday , 17 /03 /2008  Time 11:52:06    

Baghdad, Mar 17, (VOI) –

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki received on Monday morning John McCain, the Republican Party’s candidate for the U.S. presidential elections, who had arrived in Baghdad Sunday on an unannounced visit, according to the official al-Iraqiya TV station.

McCain met in the Iraqi capital on Sunday with a number of officials at the U.S. embassy. McCain was a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2000 presidential election, but was defeated by George W. Bush after closely contested battles in several early primary states. In the 2008 presidential election cycle, McCain was the Republican front-runner as the cycle began. Earlier on Monday U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Baghdad on an unannounced visit during which he is expected to hold meetings with U.S. military commanders, Premier Maliki and other officials. AE

Maliki, Cheney discuss US-Iraq long-term agreement  

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq

Monday , 17 /03 /2008  Time 11:52:06

Baghdad, March17, (VOI)-

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said he and the US Vice President Dick Cheney discussed ongoing negotiations over a long-term security agreement between the two countries that would replace the U.N. mandate for foreign troops set to expire at the end of the year.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Cheney, Al-Maliki said "this visit is very important. It is about the nature of the relations between the two countries, the future of those relations and the agreement in this respect”. "We also discussed the security in Iraq, the development of the economy and reconstruction and terrorism.”

The PM added. Early December, Iraq and US government signed a primary accord for an agreement that would allow “long-term” stay for US troops in Iraq to secure its territories and ward off external threats. US Vice President Dick Cheney lauded the Iraqi officials for passing key laws and achieving improvements in security. Cheney, said the “Iraqis have made legislative advances that would be vital to the country's future”.

“There was no question but there had been a dramatic improvement in security”, Cheney noted. Cheney landed at Baghdad International Airport, and then flew by helicopter into the dusty, heavily secured Green Zone for talks with U.S. military and diplomatic officials and the Iraqi prime minister. It is Cheney's third vice presidential trip to Iraq where 160,000 American troops are deployed and the U.S. death toll is nearing 4,000. .

Vice president last visited the country in May 2007 before the president's buildup of more than 30,000 additional U.S. troops was in full gear. Security has improved markedly since last summer when the last of the five Army brigades arrived in Iraq to complete the military buildup, but Iraqi politicians are still in gridlock over the government and key bills of laws. Bush and Cheney have just 10 months before they hand off the administration to the next U.S. president. AM

SIIC leader, Cheney mull long-term agreement  

Baghdad - Voices of Iraq

Monday , 17 /03 /2008  Time 11:52:06

    Baghdad, Mar 17, (VOI)-

Shiite Leader Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim received U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney at his office in Baghdad on Monday. Speaking at a joint press conference, al-Hakim said that a number of important issues were discussed during the meeting, including the strategic agreement between Iraq and the United States, noting that they shared identical viewpoints regarding the principles the agreement should include, mainly maintaining Iraq’s sovereignty and removing Iraq from under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.

“The meeting also tackled the latest development in the country and approving a number of legislatures,” Hakim, who is also the leader of the Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), said. “We asserted the need to foster Iraqi forces and give them responsibilities,” the Shiite leader added. For his part, the visiting U.S. official said that “United States is looking forward for a security and political partnership with all Iraqi leaders throughout the country.”

“The meeting was an opportunity to discuss several issues of the Iraqi interest,” he added. “We still have a lot to do, but the Iraqi people have to know that our support will continue,” he said, underlining that the U.S. keenness to support Iraqis until realizing their goals. Cheney said he witnessed several achievements in the security and political fields. The meeting was attended by Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. U.S. President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a joint letter in November.

The "Declaration of Principles" appears as a mutual "expression of friendship." According to this declaration the United States will help get Iraq into the World Trade Organization. The two countries will engage in scientific and cultural exchanges.

It also includes a provision that promises to maintain security assurances and commitments to Iraq to deter foreign aggression against the country that violates its sovereignty and integrity of its territories, waters, or airspace.

Last January Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zibari said that Iraqi will ink a long term security, political and economic agreement with the U.S. in mid July 2008. Cheney had arrived in Baghdad earlier on a surprise visit to the country.   SH


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