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Biden to urge Iraqis to reach political accord

BAGHDAD (AP) - Vice President Joe Biden is making a new appeal to Iraqi leaders to end their squabbling.

Biden is visiting Baghdad to mark the formal end to U.S combat operations in Iraq.

He also hopes to persuade political leaders to reach an accord. Parliamentary elections held March 7 produced no clear winner.

The void has contributed to increased insurgent attacks. The uncertainty also has some Iraqis worrying that the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces will allow their country to revert to a dictatorship or to splint along ethic or sectarian lines.

U.S. military officials say the reduction in troop numbers doesn't hinge on Iraq forming a new government, but on the ability of Iraqi forces to handle security on their own. Some 50,000 U.S. forces will remain, but for noncombat roles.


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