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US to Require Diplomats to Fill Posts in Iraq

The U.S. State Department has informed its diplomats that some will be required to serve in Iraq because of a lack of volunteers willing to work there.

The department sent a cable Friday to all diplomats, saying that 200 to 300 people will be notified Monday that they are prime candidates for postings in Iraq.

Harry Thomas, the director-general of the U.S. Foreign Service, said those notified would have 10 days to accept or reject the position.

Thomas said those who refuse face the possibility of dismissal.

He said diplomats sent to Iraq will receive extra pay and vacation time.

There are precedents for the directed assignments. In 1969, an entire class of diplomats was sent to Vietnam. During the 1970s and 1980s, some were required to work at embassies in Africa.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.