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US Special Envoy for Iraqi Debt to Visit Middle East - 2004-01-02


President Bush says he is sending his special envoy James Baker on another mission in search of Iraqi debt relief.

The plan is to send James Baker to the Middle East, where several countries are owed massive amounts of money by Iraq.

President Bush makes clear details of the trip must still be worked out with leaders in the region. He says Mr. Baker will let him know when the time is right.

The two men met over lunch on New Year's Day at a ranch in southern Texas owned by Bush family friends. The president said he thanked Mr. Baker for spending so much time in recent weeks in Europe and Asia, trying to win support for Iraqi debt restructuring. He made special mention of recent meetings in Japan and China, calling them very positive.

James Baker served as secretary of state under the president's father, former President George Bush. He was tapped recently to lead an all-out effort to help ease Iraq's $120 billion debt burden.

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