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Powell Visits Iraq, Reaffirms US Support - 2004-07-30


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, on a surprise visit to Baghdad today (Friday), reaffirmed America's support for Iraq's interim government.

In a joint news conference with Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar, Mr. Powell said the United States remains committed to helping the interim government establish democracy in Iraq.

For his part, the Iraqi president rejected suggestions that the security situation is deteriorating. He said the recent surge in violence is the result of desperation on the part of insurgents and foreign terrorists.

Mr. Powell, who traveled from Kuwait, is the most senior American official to visit the Iraqi capital since the handover of sovereignty to an Iraqi government last month (June 28).

Mr. Powell met with Iraq's Prime Minister Iyad Allawi Thursday in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. Both men welcomed a Saudi proposal to create a security force from Muslim countries to serve in Iraq.

Baghdad is the latest stop on Mr. Powell's tour of Europe and the Middle East. He is to return to the United States Sunday after stopping in Poland.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and AP.

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