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US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Iraq to meet with top US, Iraqi officials | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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BAGHDAD (AP) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a top Democratic critic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, met with the Iraqi prime minister Saturday during a surprise visit to Baghdad.

Pelosi went into the meeting with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shortly after arriving in the Iraqi capital, a government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo confirmed that the California Democrat had arrived and said she would be meeting with senior U.S. and Iraqi leaders.

Pelosi’s visit comes a day after she led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Israel to mark the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding.

Pelosi has criticized the Bush administration’s strategy of taking a “pause” before deciding whether a major drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq was warranted, advocating a faster troop withdrawal. She also has led calls for the Iraqi government to contribute more financially to the reconstruction of the country.