Ms Rice`s surprise visit to Iraq

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Iraq on Sunday to reach out to minority Sunni Muslims to help defuse an insurgency, as authorities said they had found the bodies of 34 men killed by guerrillas.

During the surprise visit, Rice said she wanted to move the political process ahead and undercut the insurgency that is being led by Sunni Arabs. Guerrilla attacks have killed more than 400 people since the new cabinet was named on April 28.

In talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, Rice discussed speeding up the training of Iraqi forces to take on greater security duties. Guerrillas have concentrated recent car bombings and assassinations on Iraqi soldiers and policy, tells Reuters.

More than 400 Iraqis have been killed in suicide and car bombings, ambushes and assassinations.

Ms Rice first held talks with the Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in his mountain stronghold of Salaheddin, 30 miles north of Irbil in the relatively peaceful Kurdish region.

Later she flew to Baghdad to meet Mr Jaafari, and one of the new deputy prime ministers, Ahmed Chalabi. A state department official said Ms Rice had come to deliver "a friendly but strong message" to Iraq's leaders about drafting a permanent constitution on schedule by August 15.

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