U.S. defense secretary arrives in Iraq

16:51, September 01, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates walks off his plane at Al-Assad Air Base in Iraq Sept. 1, 2010, on a surprise visit as the the U.S. Army officially ends its combat mission in Iraq. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates flew into Iraq in a surprise visit on Wednesday, a day after the U.S. military formally ended combat mission in the country, an Iraqi official television said.

Gates is expected to attend a change of command ceremony for the U.S. military outgoing commander in Iraq, General Raymond Odierno, who is due to hand over to the incoming commander, Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin, the state-run television of Iraqia said.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is also in Iraq since Monday for talks with Iraqi top officials to urge them to form a government nearly six months after the parliamentary elections in the country.

Both U.S. leaders are due to attend a ceremony marking the end of the U.S. combat mission and the start of the new "advise and assist" mission, dubbed "Operation New Dawn."

Gates' visit came hours after U.S. President Barack Obama announced the end of U.S. combat mission in Iraq.

U.S. troops in Iraq had been reduced to below 50,000 soldiers. Washington said that the remaining U.S. troops will remain in Iraq to conduct support and training missions.

Source: Xinhua


  • Do you have anything to say?
  • Players of Iran throw up their coach Velasco Julio during the awarding ceremony at the 16th Asian Men's Volleyball Championship in Tehran, capital of Iran, Sept. 29, 2011. Iran won the champion after beating China 3-1 in the final on Thursday. (Xinhua/Ahmad Halabisaz)

  • Greek artists burn copies of emergency tax notices during a protest against austerity measures in Athens, Greece, on Sept. 29, 2011. The Greek government is facing a new wave of protests as it introduces new austerity measures to obtain the sixth tranche of aids necessary to overcome the acute debt crisis.(Xinhua/Marios Lolos)
  • A winner of the 36th Miss Bikini International 2011 poses for a photo at the Olympic Sailing Center in Qingdao, a coastal city of east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Chen Jianli)
  • Staff members are in position at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 29, 2011. Commander-in-chief of China's manned space program Chang Wanquan announced Thursday night that the launch of Tiangong-1 space lab module was successful. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
  • Champion of Miss Bikini from Poland receives trophy at the final of the 36th Miss Bikini International World Competition in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 28, 2011. (Xinhua Photo)

  • Photo taken on Sept. 28, 2011 shows autumn scenery of populus euphratica forests in Ejina Banner, north China's Inner Mongolia. The populus euphratica forests here, with an area of 390,000 mu, or 26,000 hectares, is one of the world's most famous populus euphratica forests. The golden leaves and sunshines here in autumn is able to attract more than 100,000 person-times annually. (Xinhua/Zhao Tingting)