PM Tony Blair makes unannounced visit to Iraq

December 17, 2006 11:49


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British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Baghdad Sunday on an unannounced visit to meet political leaders and show support for fragile attempts to stem the country's seemingly unstoppable bloodshed. Blair, who is traveling the Middle East to push for Israeli-Palestinian peace, was whisked into the heavily fortified Green Zone from the airport on a military helicopter. He had flown to Baghdad by Royal Air Force transport plane from Cairo. The trip - Blair's sixth to Iraq since the US-led 2003 invasion - was not announced in advance for security reasons. Blair was expected to meet President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who will brief him on progress in handing over security control of the Basra region of southern Iraq from British to Iraqi forces.

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