Obama meets tribal chiefs in Iraqi province
US Democratic presidential contender Barak Obama visited Iraq's western Anbar province on Tuesday where he met chiefs of the US-backed anti-al-Qaeda Awakening Council, reported dpa.
A spokesman for Sunni-dominated province, Jamal al-Mashhadani, told reporters that Obama met the governor, tribal chiefs and Sheikh Ahmed Abu-Risha, leader of the local Awakening Council.
In the years following the US-led 2003 invasion, Anbar was the centre stage of Sunni Arab insurgency against US troops and the Shiite-led governments in Baghdad.
Military offensives by Iraqi and US troops quelled the insurgency. The let-up in violence was also due to the establishment of Iraq's first Awakening Council to fight al-Qaeda militants.
US troops have delayed a handover of security responsibilities in the province, slated for June, after the governor said local troops were not ready for the new role.
No further details were available about Obama's visit to Anbar. The Illinois senator met Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders in Baghdad on Monday.
Obama has suggested that all US combat troops be out of Iraq by April 2010 if he is elected to replace President George W Bush in November.
Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabagh told reporters that the government would not give a timetable, but believed that end of 2010 was "the appropriate time for the withdrawal of forces."
Al-Dabagh said Obama did not raise the troop withdrawal issue with al-Maliki. Obama, who is part of a congressional delegation, was expected to travel to Jordan from Iraq.