US envoy: Diplomatic presence in Iraq will shrink

WASHINGTON  — The US State Department told Congress that it intends to phase out a network of embassy branch offices in Iraq as early as three years after the US military leaves in 2011.
The Obama administration's choice to be the next ambassador to Baghdad, James F. Jeffrey, said an existing network of 16 military-civilian posts will be transformed by 2011 into a combination of three embassy branch offices and two consulates.
The three embassy branch offices will be phased out in three to five years, he said, while the US Embassy in Baghdad and two consulates will remain indefinitely.
Jeffrey currently is US ambassador to Turkey. He made his remarks at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.