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In Baghdad, Rice praises law reintegrating former Baathists

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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a quick trip to Baghdad on Tuesday, during which she told Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the US is pleased with a new law to politically rehabilitate members of executed former dictator Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and urged him to move faster on political reconciliation.

The Associated Press reports the Bush administration has seen recent legislative steps in Iraq as encouraging.

"President Bush and Secretary Rice decided this would be a good opportunity for the secretary to go to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi officials to build on progress made and to encourage additional political reconciliation and legislative action," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.
The de-Baathification law is one of 18 steps which the United States considered benchmarks to promoting reconciliation among the country's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.
A senior aide to al-Maliki said Rice also encouraged the prime minister to promote the progress of the other benchmark legislation, including provincial elections, constitutional amendments and a law to share the country's oil and gas resources among the different sects.

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