Iraqi PM to Visit Obama July 22

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is going to visit President Barack Obama next week.

A statement announcing next Wednesday's visit says the countries are "close partners" in building a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, The Associated Press reports.

The meeting comes three weeks and a day after American troops formally withdrew from Iraqi cities and towns as required by the Status of Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq.

A spokesman says the security situation in Iraq will be discussed by the two leaders, but the agenda also includes the need for further political reconciliation among Shia, Sunni and Kurds, and the timeline for withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Despite some recent "high-profile bombings" in Iraq, Mr. Obama believes the security situation there "has continued to dramatically improve," CBS News reports.

"The United States and Iraq enjoy a close relationship and are partners in building a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq through the responsible withdrawal of U.S. forces and the encouragement of new ties in trade, commerce, culture and education," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in announcing al-Maliki's visit to the White House, Reuters reports.

The president looks forward to consulting with the prime minister on a broad agenda of issues of mutual concern, AFP reports.

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