Iraq's PM to meet Obama in US
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is beginning a four-day visit to the US, during which he will meet President Obama at the White House, BBC reported.
The visit comes after American troops withdrew from Iraqi towns and cities three weeks ago.
The talks with President Obama on Wednesday are expected to include Iraqi reconciliation efforts.
They will also cover the role of US troops as they prepare for a complete departure from Iraq by the end of 2011.
On Tuesday, at least 18 people were killed in a series of bomb attacks in Iraq, including the capital, Baghdad, and the cities of Ramadi and Baquba.
Iraqi troops now take the lead security role in Iraq's urban areas, and analysts say the latest attacks are a sign that insurgents remain intent on destabilising the country.
There has been a marked drop in violence in Iraq in recent months, though attacks increased in June in the run-up to the American pull-back.
The BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse, in Baghdad, says Mr Obama and Mr Maliki will, on the face of it, want a swift and orderly exit of American troops from Iraqi soil.
Mr Obama promised a withdrawal during his election campaign last year, and Mr Maliki faces a general election in Iraq in January in which he is staking his reputation on being the man who oversaw the transfer of military control from US to Iraqi hands.
But our correspondent says that, behind the optimistic talk about withdrawal, reduced violence and the increased capabilities of Iraqi security forces, lie two facts - there are still around 130,000 American troops inside Iraq, and fatal attacks remain an everyday occurrence.
He says the question is how to get American forces out of Iraq by the end of 2011 without the security situation getting any worse.
Our correspondent says Iraqi reconciliation is key.
Iraq's Shia, Sunni and Kurdish groups are divided on a number of issues, including how to share Iraq's oil wealth, the authority of the central government, and political power-sharing.
None of this will be easy to resolve, our correspondent says, with the various parties jostling for position ahead of January's elections.