U.S. vice president visits Iraq as troops depart

Agence France-Presse
November 29, 2011

US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit on Tuesday, during which he is due to meet top Iraqi officials, as American troops depart Iraq ahead of a year-end deadline. …

Biden’s visit comes after a bloody seven days for Iraq, during which at least 61 people were killed in a wave of attacks.

The White House said that while in Iraq, “the vice president will co-chair a meeting of the US-Iraq Higher Coordinating Committee. He will also meet with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani, (and) Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi.”

“We are deepening our cooperation on politics and diplomacy; trade and finance; energy; services, technology, the environment, and transportation; law enforcement and the judiciary; and defence and security,” the White House said in a statement. …

Obama on October 21 announced that US troops would leave Iraq by the end of 2011, bringing to a close an almost nine-year war that has left thousands of US soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead, and cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

About 13,800 US soldiers are still in the country, and seven US bases remain to be handed over, according to USF-I spokesman Major General Jeffrey Buchanan.

In full: www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/29/u-s-vice-president-visits-iraq-as-troops-depart/