Biden in Iraq for talks on US troops' exit

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 13, 2011 02:35

 
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BAGHDAD — US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq early Thursday for talks with the new government's leaders about the future of American troops in the country as they prepare to leave at year's end.

Biden's unannounced trip marks the first visit by a top US official since Iraq approved a new Cabinet last month, breaking a political deadlock and jump-starting its stalled government after inconclusive elections last March.

Iraqi officials said they expected the issue of whether to keep some US forces in Iraq beyond the Dec. 31 deadline would dominate Biden's talks Thursday with President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Kurdish President Massoud Barzani.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive diplomacy frankly.

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