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US to slow diplomatic efforts in Iraq

By Michael S. Schmidt and Tim Arango
New York Times / October 23, 2011

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Beyond the final withdrawal of troops that President Obama announced Friday, U.S. fiscal troubles are dictating a drastic scaling back of plans to expand diplomatic and cultural programs once deemed vital to steadying Iraq and prying it from Iran’s tightening embrace. As recently as this summer, the State Department had planned to establish a consulate in the still-restive northern city of Mosul, with 700 staff members and security personnel. And as recently as the spring, the United States was moving ahead with plans for a consulate in Kirkuk.

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