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World Briefing / Iraq

Biden celebrates with troops

July 05, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Vice President Joe Biden marked the Fourth of July with his son and other American troops in Iraq, a day after warning Iraqi leaders that U.S. assistance will be jeopardized if the country reverts to ethnic and sectarian violence.

Biden began Independence Day by greeting more than 200 U.S. soldiers from 59 countries who were becoming American citizens at a naturalization ceremony in a marble domed hall at one of Saddam Hussein's palaces at Camp Victory, the U.S. military headquarters on the outskirts of Baghdad.

He then had lunch with the 261st Theater Tactical Signal Brigade from Delaware, to which his son, Beau, belongs. Beau Biden stood in the back as his father greeted the troops.

Biden was wrapping up an unusually long three-day trip to Baghdad aimed at fostering political reconciliation, just days after U.S. combat troops withdrew from Iraqi cities as part of a security pact that calls for a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.

It was Biden's first visit as vice president and as Obama's new unofficial point man on Iraq.

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