Condi Rice Make Surprise Visit to Iraq
Secretary of State of Condoleezza Rice, on a heavily guarded surprise trip to Iraq on Sunday, urged patience for the country’s fragile new government and said Iraqis have made remarkable political progress that can overcome a recent surge of violence. “Obviously there is a security situation Ã¢€¦ I want and have wanted to go to Iraq at the right time, and the right time is when they had a new government,” Rice said en route to this town in Kurdish northern Iraq.
Rice flew immediately to the mountain stronghold of Kurdish Democratic Party leader Massoud Barzani. She rode in an Apache military helicopter under extremely heavy security.
The one-day trip was Rice’s first visit to Iraq as the nation’s top diplomat. Rice was a chief architect of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as White House national security adviser during President Bush’s first term and she accompanied Bush on his own surprise visit to Iraq on Thanksgiving Day 2003.
Rice said she wanted to discuss the new government’s upcoming tasks including writing a constitution, as well as addressing the country’s security and infrastructure needs. Rice told reporters the August deadline to write a federal constitution was imposed by the Iraqis, not the United States. The continuing political situation and security challenges in Baghdad have complicated the process and some in the Iraqi government now say that deadline may not be realistic.
The same was said about the elections, too.