State Department issues weekly Iraq report

Feb. 5, 2008 at 8:11 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- The United States highlighted security agreements, "rolling" elections and a visit to Iraq by Iranian officials in its latest review on progress in Iraq.

The Iraqi Weekly Status Report reiterated Defense Secretary Robert Gates statements regarding the pending security arrangement between the United States and Iraq as the U.N. mandate governing the mission there is set to expire.

"The way to think about the framework agreement is an approach to normalizing the relationship between the U.S. and Iraq,'' the report quotes Gates, who added the framework remained in the early stages of development.

The report repeated statements from the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Barham Saleh, who said he favored "rolling" elections for provincial elections in Iraq.

The Washington Post Tuesday featured statements by a senior official charged with managing Iraqi refugees who said a U.S. State Department program will "continue to aim for 12,000 arrivals (of Iraqi refugees) by the end of September." The Iraqi report notes that Reps. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla. and John Dingell, D-Mich., requested $1.5 million in war funding measures to aid Iraq refugee programs.

The report also noted that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning a "historic" visit to Iraq "sometime before March 19."

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