U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made a surprise visit to Baghdad today -Wednesday, and urged Iraqi leaders to complete and approve a new constitution by the August 15th deadline.
At a joint news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Mr. Rumsfeld urged the Iraqi leadership to, in his words, "get on with it," and avoid any delays.
Prime Minister al-Jaafari called for a speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops, saying the Iraqi people want to see coalition forces start to leave as Iraqi forces take on more responsibility. But he added that no one wanted a surprise withdrawal.
General George Casey, the top American commander in Iraq, told reporters that a "substantial" U.S. troop withdrawal could begin by next year if progress continues on the political front and the insurgency does not grow.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.