Obama arrives in Baghdad on fact-finding tour

By Xinhua,

Baghdad : Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama arrived in Baghdad Monday on a fact-finding tour.

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The U.S. Embassy in Iraq confirmed his arrival along with two other senators.

Obama flew into Iraq from Afghanistan, the first leg of his Middle East and European tour designed to boost his say in foreign affairs amid a presidential campaign dead heat back in the United States.

The Democratic presidential candidate has promised, if elected, will withdraw the U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months, and send more troops to Afghanistan where security situation is getting worse.

The senators are scheduled to meet with senior Iraqi officials, coalition leadership and U.S. diplomatic officials, the U.S. embassy said.

They will also meet with constituent service members and civilian staff working in Iraq.

U.S. President George W. Bush opposes a specific timetable for pulling out the troops. But the Iraqi government is ratcheting up calls for such a time line.

In a video conference last week, Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki agreed on a time horizon for a drawdown of troops.

German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday that Maliki supports Obama’s withdrawal timetable. But the Iraqi side later said Maliki was misunderstood.

During his stay in Afghanistan, Obama met President Hamid Karzai and visited U.S. military bases.

Matters pertaining situation in Afghanistan, regional stability, fight against drug, war on terror and enhancing Kabul-Washington relations were discussed, according to a statement by Karzai’s office.

Both sides had exchanged views on boosting economic relations between Afghanistan and the United States and on bolstering reconstruction process of the post-Taliban nation in the meeting, the statement said.