John Negroponte Makes Unannounced Visit to Iraq

U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte was in Baghdad on Friday for previously unannounced talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi leader's office and Iraqi state television said.

The television gave no other details and U.S. Embassy officials were not immediately available for comment. Yassin Majid, the prime minister's spokesman, said the two men were in meetings in the Iraqi leader's office in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

Negroponte, whose visit was previously unannounced, had served as the American ambassador to Iraq before the current envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Visit's Iraq Center for more in-depth coverage.

"This visit is in the framework of a continuing series of meetings between the Iraqi government and the U.S. administration," Majid said without further elaboration.

The Negroponte visit comes five days after National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley paid an unannounced visit as tensions in the U.S.-Iraqi relationship came to the surface after a series of critical statements by al-Maliki.

Hadley met with al-Maliki and his security chief, Mouwafak al-Rubaie, telling them he "wanted to reinforce some of the things you have heard from our president."

Al-Rubaie told the AP that Hadley had discussed the work of a five-man committee that al-Maliki and Bush agreed to establish last week to deal with security issues and speeding the transition to Iraqi control over the country.

Hadley also presented some proposals concerning the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces as well as security plans.