WASHINGTON – Iraq's prime minister reviewed strategy with President Bush's top advisers Thursday amid growing pressure on the White House to bring troops home from a war that has cost the lives of more than 1,700 U.S. troops.
From the White House, al-Jaafari was to go to Capitol Hill for meetings with Senate and House leaders. He also was to see L. Paul Bremer (search), the former U.S. administrator in Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion.
The meetings come amid heightened focus on Iraq. On Tuesday, Bush is to travel outside of Washington to a not-yet-disclosed site for what the White House says will be a major speech on Iraq.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush on Friday would talk with al-Jaafari about "the progress that's being made on the political front and the security front. It's also an opportunity to talk about the challenges that lie ahead."
Al-Jaafari came to Washington from Brussels, Belgium, where Iraq won wide and concrete support from the international community to help rebuild its security forces in the midst of relentless terror attacks.
No new money was offered but the gathering was applauded as proof that sharp differences over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq could be put aside to help Iraqis now.
"It's a good day for Iraq," Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said.
Foreign policy had typically given Bush his highest scores with the public, but that has changed. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll this month found just 41 percent of adults supported his handling of the Iraq war — an all-time low. In addition, a Gallup poll last week found that six in 10 Americans say they think the United States should withdraw some or all of its troops from Iraq.