Rice Pops Up in Iraq to Plead for Peace

Calls for reconciliation on surprise visit
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2007 4:49 AM CST
Arab residents of Kirkuk, an oil-rich province of northern Iraq, line up outside the Article 140 government building, waiting to register to be resettled outside the province as part of a constitutional...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Iraq for a surprise visit today to plead for increased efforts at reconciliation, Reuters reports. She flew into the ethnically mixed northern city of Kirkuk—which some expect to be the next flashpoint for violence. The city's Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen are deeply divided, and fears of fighting have delayed a planned vote on the city's future status. 

Rice met with local leaders and called for unity. "I have always looked forward to coming to Kirkuk. It is in an important province for the future of Iraq, for a democratic Iraq, an Iraq that can be for all peoples," she said. Her unannounced visit came just hours after Turkish troops moved into northern Iraq to fight Kurdish rebels.