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Rice to visit Sweden for Iraq conference

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Rice to visit Sweden for Iraq conference
07:46 CEST+02:00
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Sweden and Iceland from May 28th to May 30th, during which she will attend a UN conference on Iraq in the Swedish capital Stockholm, it was announced on Thursday.

"In Stockholm, she will participate in the International Compact with Iraq, which remains a central focus of our efforts to work with the Iraqi government on a clear, measurable plan of economic reforms," the State Department said.

"She will meet with donors who have worked bilaterally to build ministerial and provincial capacity and increase the involvement of the private sector,"the department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement.

The conference, which takes place on May 29th, will be the first follow-up meeting after the launch of the five-year International Compact with Iraq (ICI) peace and development plan in Sharm el-Sheikh in May last year.

The gathering aims to "strengthen the international role in Iraq," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said last month.

The ICI is an Iraqi government initiative with the international community aimed at supporting the political process in the war-torn country.

The ICI was launched in Sharm al-Sheikh on May 3rd, 2007, when more than 60 countries took part in the first meeting which produced commitments of $30 billion.

Bildt stressed the meeting in Sweden would not be a donors conference.

"This is a political conference," he said, adding that the aim was to increase international and UN involvement in Iraq's political development as US involvement decreases.

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Among the issues to be addressed would be local elections expected in October and the national reconciliation process.

Rice "will also meet separately with senior Swedish officials to discuss issues of bilateral importance," McCormack said in his statement. "In Reykjavik, she will meet with senior Icelandic officials to discuss important bilateral and regional issues."

The statement did not say when she will visit Iceland.

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