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US envoy visits Iraq to talk of new ties

White House envoy Donald Rumsfeld arrived unexpectedly in Iraq Monday for the first visit by a senior US official in 16 years and discussed bilateral relations and Mideast issues with Foreign

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Minister Tariq Aziz ''in a cordial and frank atmosphere,'' the official Iraqi news agency said.

The agency did not mention any possibility of restoring diplomatic relations severed in 1967 after the Arab-Israeli war. President Saddam Hussein has said that restoring relations during the Iran-Iraq war might be misinterpreted.

Iraq and the US have recently renewed contacts at high levels, the most important being a meeting in Paris in May between Mr. Aziz and Secretary of State George Shultz. The US government has removed Iraq's name from a list of countries alleged to support terrorism.

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