Biden Meets with Gen. Odierno, Ambassador Hill in Baghdad’s Green Zone

By Lindsey Ellerson

Sep 15, 2009 4:36pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: Vice President Biden met with Gen. Ray Odierno, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari at the ambassador’s residence in the Green Zone today in Baghdad. During a subsequent press briefing that Odierno and Hill were holding with reporters, the duck and cover alarm went off in the Green Zone, warning of incoming in-direct fire, according to the pool reporter traveling with the vice president. As the briefing ended, the all-clear signal was given. Biden, who recently added Iraq to his policy portfolio at the request of President Obama, told reporters that he has a personal relationship with and “has won a measure of trust" from Iraqi leaders. The vice president said he was in Baghdad to listen and “resolve outstanding political issues.” Biden said that Gen. Odierno is “optimistic” that Iraqi forces will be ready in time to meet the deadline set for the U.S. military withdrawal under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). In January Iraq will hold national elections and potentially a referendum on SOFA that if approved would require all U.S. forces to leave the country within one year, ahead of the current deadline which set up a withdrawal by the end of 2011. Biden said the referendum is “likely to happen,” but “there are a number of steps that have to be taken by the Iraqis.” The vice president said he was not sure that has been settled yet. -Karen Travers

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