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Powell Visits Iraq - 2003-09-14


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is in Iraq to meet with senior officials of the interim Iraqi government and the Coalition Provisional Authority. Mr. Powell arrived in the Iraqi capital (Sunday morning) after a high-level United Nations meeting in Geneva on the future course of Iraqi reconstruction.

Mr. Powell was welcomed in Baghdad Sunday morning by the head of the Provisional Authority, Paul Bremer.

A spokesman said the secretary would meet with senior Iraqi and coalition officials to see firsthand the progress being made in rebuilding Iraq.

Mr. Powell came to Iraq from Geneva, where he met Saturday with foreign ministers of the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. They discussed a U.S. proposal to share the burden of Iraqi reconstruction with more UN members.

France has proposed returning sovereignty to Iraqi leaders next month and holding elections early next year, but Mr. Powell dismissed this as unrealistic.

An hour before the secretary arrived, one U.S. soldier was killed and three were wounded in an attack on their convoy near Fallujah. Fallujah has begun three days of mourning for nine Iraqi police and one Jordanian guard who were killed by U.S. soldiers Friday in a "friendly fire" incident.

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