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Published:July 3rd, 2010 12:18 EST

Joe Biden Arrives in Iraq to Visit U.S. Troops

By SOP newswire3


By Elaine Wilson
American Forces Press Service


BAGHDAD, July 3, 2010 " Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, arrived here this evening for a surprise visit to celebrate Independence Day with U.S. troops stationed in Iraq.

The Bidens also will meet with Iraqi leaders to discuss recent developments and to reaffirm the nation`s ongoing commitment to Iraq, White House officials said.

The vice president will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi officials. He`ll also speak with Ad Melkert, the United Nations secretary general`s special representative for Iraq, officials said.

Additionally, he will take part in a Fourth of July event for Iraqi officials hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill.

The Bidens together will attend a naturalization ceremony for U.S. servicemembers.

Dr. Biden will go solo to attend several Independence Day events and to meet with National Guard soldiers preparing to head home to discuss reintegration and the challenges their families faced in their absence.

Dr. Biden, an educator for about 30 years, also will take part in a roundtable discussion and training with Iraqi women who teach English here.

While the vice president has been to Iraq several times, including a visit here last Fourth of July, this is his wife`s first visit to Iraq. Their son, Beau, a captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, was deployed here this time last year.

As of today, about 82,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, Pentagon officials said.