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Rice on a surprise visit to Iraq

Condoleezza Rice's visit came after US lawmakers rebuked President Bush over his new strategy of pushing more US combat troops into Iraq.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2007 16:34 IST

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Baghdad for a brief visit, US embassy spokesman Lou Fintor said on Saturday.

"I can confirm that the secretary of state has landed and is on her way here," Fintor told reporters at the US embassy in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.

Rice's visit came a day after US lawmakers rebuked President George W Bush over his new strategy of pushing 21,500 more US combat troops into Iraq to stem sectarian bloodletting that killed more than 34,400 people in the past year.

On Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki "told President Bush that the security plan had seen dazzling success during its first days and that the government will deal with every outlaw" regardless of religious affiliation, his office said.

In Washington however, a motion that rebuked Bush for planning to send more troops to Iraq moved to the US Senate after it passed the House in a rare wartime blow to the US commander-in-chief.

Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader said: "Senators will have another opportunity to express their view on the war in Iraq.

"Let us be clear: Anyone voting 'no' tomorrow (Saturday) is voting to give the president a green light to escalate the war."

In Baghdad, US opposition to the war nonetheless stood in sharp contrast to the unfolding security operation, which appeared in its early days to be achieving many of the goals set out by Maliki and US and Iraqi army commanders.