Pelosi Makes Unannounced Visit to Iraq

Posted May 10, 2009 at 11:39am

Updated: May 10, 2:43 p.m.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made a surprise, one-day visit to Baghdad on Sunday, meeting Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Iraqi parliament’s new speaker, Sunni Muslim leader Ayad al-Samarrai, who was elected to the post on April 19.

Pelosi had been in both Jordan and Qatar as part of an official trip to the region, but her visit to Iraq had not been announced in advance.

“We don’t talk about her travels to Iraq for security reasons, but that had been part of the trip,” Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said.

A press release on Sunday afternoon from the Speaker’s office said it was Pelosi’s fifth visit to Iraq.

According to a Washington Post report of her visit, Pelosi reiterated that the United States will continue to maintain an active role in the country.

“We will have intense political involvement as we go forward,” Pelosi was quoted as saying after her meeting with al-Samarrai.

Pelosi was accompanied on her Middle East trip by Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Select Intelligence Oversight Panel.

According to the press release, Pelosi and Holt discussed with al-Maliki and al-Samarrai improving security for Iraqi citizens, resolving the Iraqi-Kurd border dispute, building a strong Iraqi intelligence service, and ridding the country of widespread corruption.