U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Baghdad on surprise visit

July 3rd, 2010 - 10:30 pm ICT by BNO News  

BAGHDAD (BNO NEWS) — U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife on Saturday afternoon arrived in Baghdad on a surprise visit to mark Independence Day and to meet with Iraqi leaders.

Biden’s visit comes soon after March’s inconclusive elections in Iraq which raised questions about U.S. plans to end combat operations there next month. It is the vice president’s second visit to Iraq this year.

During Saturday’s stay, Biden will meet with Iraqi political leaders to reaffirm the U.S. long-term commitment to Iraq and to discuss recent developments. Among the Iraqi leaders who Biden will visit are Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of Iraqiyya Ayad Allawi, and other political leaders.

He will also meet with the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Iraq Ad Melkert.

Additionally, Biden and his wife will attend a naturalization ceremony for members of the United States Armed Forces and the Vice President will participate in a Fourth of July event for Iraqi officials hosted by Ambassador Hill.

Biden’s wife, Jill, will attend a number of Independence Day activities and visit with National Guard soldiers preparing to redeploy to the United States for a discussion about reintegration and the challenges faced by military families during the deployment cycle.

Also during this visit, Jill will meet with civilian embassy personnel and participate in a teacher training roundtable event with Iraqi women who teach English in the greater Baghdad area. Saturday’s visit is her first visit to Iraq.

On January 22, the vice president also paid a surprise visit to Iraq. He met with Iraqi leaders and received updates from U.S. military and civilian leaders. He also visited U.S. troops.

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