US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has made a surprise visit to Iraq to meet with government leaders and the United Nation’s new special envoy Steffan de Mistura. Security in Iraq has improved due to the deployment of an extra 30,000 U.S. troops, a decision by Sunni Arab tribal leaders to move against al-Qaida, and a six-month ceasefire by Shi’ite cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr. Rice said it is time to take advantage of the situation and urged Iraqi leaders to speed up national reconciliation. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the government will increase its political efforts. (VOA)

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