US House speaker in Iraq for visit

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The Independent US

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a surprise one-day visit to Baghdad today to meet with the prime minister and discuss US -Iraqi relations, Iraqi and US officials said.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh says Pelosi, a fierce critic of the US-led war in Iraq, will meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi officials during her trip. Pelosi will also meet US officials and troops in Iraq, the US embassy in Baghdad said.

In the past, Pelosi has pushed the Iraqi government to make greater efforts at political reconciliation. The California democrat originally opposed the 2007 increase in US troops, which was credited with contributing to a substantial reduction of violence in much of country in the past two years.

She has praised President Barack Obama's plans to bring home two-thirds of the 130,000 US troops in Iraq by August 2010.

Pelosi last visited Iraqi in May 2008, when she also met with al-Maliki, and came in January 2007, shortly after Democrats took control of Congress.