The United States has opened its new embassy in Iraq - Washington's largest diplomatic outpost in the world.

The new compound is located on a 42-hectare site in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.  It opened Monday during a ceremony attended by Iraqi President Jalai Talabani and Deputy U.S. Secretary of State John Negroponte.  U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker said the opening marks a new era in Iraq-U.S. relations.

U.S. Marines raised the American flag in the embassy courtyard as the U.S. national anthem was played.

The new embassy cost more than $600 million to build, and will house more than 1,000 employees.  The facility has its own water supply, electricity generating plant and sewage treatment facility.

On January 1, the U.S. transferred control of Baghdad's Green Zone to the Iraqi army - the first step of a new security deal that calls for U.S. forces to withdraw from the country by 2011.

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