Facing allegations the US spied on its Iraqi allies, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday defended the relationship between the two governments as "very open and transparent."
The top US diplomat did not directly confront the assertion, raised in a new book by Bob Woodward, that the Bush administration spied extensively on Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and others in the Baghdad government. She was asked how the US would rebuild trust with Iraq if such spying took place.
"I can say that we have an open and political diplomatic relationship with the Iraqis that is cooperative," Rice told reporters on her trip to North Africa.
"I myself work constantly with Prime Minister Maliki, and we share information," she said. "And it is a very open and transparent relationship, as is befitting friends who have been through as much as we have with the Iraqis."
Woodward's assertion of US surveillance on Iraqi leaders has drawn condemnation from Baghdad and warnings that US ties to Iraq could be in peril.