Gates to Iraqis: The 'Clock Is Ticking'

Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Baghdad today to meet with military commanders and to warn the Iraqi government "the clock is ticking" on ending the violent insurgency and making progress toward a sustainable government.

Shortly before arriving, Gates told reporters he would remind the Iraqis that time was running out.

"Frankly, I would like to see faster progress," Gates said, referring to the Iraqi political reconciliation process.

The United States is sending an additional 28,000 troops to Iraq to "buy time" for the Iraqi government. But the Iraqis have failed to deliver on basic political issues, such as sharing Iraq's oil revenue, despite repeated promises.

"I am sympathetic with some of the challenges they face, but, by the same token. … The clock is ticking," Gates said.

U.S. officials are privately upset that the Iraqi Parliament, which has yet to enact any key laws on reconciliation, plans to go on recess for several weeks in June, just as last of the additional U.S. forces in the surge are due to arrive in Iraq.

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