Cheney: US to continue mission in Iraq
(dpa) - US Vice-President Dick Cheney, on a second day of an unannounced visit to Iraq, reaffirmed his government's commitment to continue its mission in the country despite sagging support.
Cheney, one of the architects of the war in Iraq, told US troops at an air base in the northern city of Balad the US would complete what it had started in Iraq, according to Iraqi al-Sharqiya television.
Ahead of the fifth anniversary of the US-led war, Cheney reassured Iraqi leaders Monday of unwavering US support as they continue to build their democracy.
Cheney, on a 10-day regional tour, urged Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to resume full diplomatic ties with Iraq.
Saudi leaders will be urged during Cheney's talks in Riyadh later this week to send their ambassador to Baghdad and reopen their diplomatic mission there - a move that the Saudis have long mulled but about which they are still reluctant.
Arbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdish Autonomous Region, was the next stop in Cheney's visit to northern Iraq, according to the Voices of Iraq news agency.
He was expected to discuss with the region's President Masud Barzani Turkey's military operations last month against rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who are operating from the region's mountainous areas.
The operations, backed by the Washington, were harshly criticized by Iraq's Kurds as an encroachment on Iraq's sovereignty.