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Rumsfeld, Rice Meet With New Iraqi Leaders in Baghdad


The U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense are both in Iraq to meet with the country's newly elected top leaders. Officials say the unprecedented joint visit is intended to demonstrate U.S. support for the officials who emerged from four months of political deadlock.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived early Wednesday, spending the morning meeting with U.S. generals, watching Iraqi troops train, and having lunch with U.S. troops.

He was joined in the afternoon by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, for meetings with the Iraqi president, the new prime minister and other officials.

For security reasons, neither visit was announced in advance.

After meeting with Secretary Rumsfeld Wednesday morning, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey, said his hope to announce a reduction in U.S. troop strength soon is on track.

"And so we are seeing the situation a little clearer, I'd say, and the clearer I see it the better I can make my recommendations," General Casey said.

But he said he wants to see the new Iraqi government take hold before he sends any recommendation to President Bush.