US Inaugurates $700M Embassy in Baghdad

Buildings symbolize desire to 'continue the tradition of friendship'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 5, 2009 9:05 AM CST
US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, right, and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani look on during a ceremony marking the opening of the new US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.   (Hadi Mizban)
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(Newser) – The United States inaugurated its largest embassy yet in the heart of the Green Zone today, officially opening the fortress-like compound that was intended to stand as a testament to America's commitment to Iraq. Addressing an inauguration ceremony under tight security, Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the $700 million embassy was testimony to America's long-term friendship with Iraq.

"From this embassy in the years to come, we look forward to building our partnership and contributing to the future," Crocker said. During the ceremony, US Marines raised the American flag over the building, which sits on a 104-acre site and has space for 1,000 employees. It resembles a corporate campus surrounded by huge walls of reinforced concrete.