White House

Cheney in Baghdad; Bombers kill 12

   VP Cheney arrives in Baghdad (AP)

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney met Iraqi leaders on Wednesday during an unannounced visit to Baghdad, and was expected to press for more progress in meeting political benchmarks aimed at ending sectarian violence.

In Iraq's relatively peaceful Kurdistan, a truck bomb killed 12 people and wounded 53 in the northern city of Arbil, police said. It was one of the few bombings to hit a region that has been spared the bloodshed engulfing the rest of Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Cheney's visit, part of a Middle East tour, could signal growing U.S. impatience at Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's failure to push power-sharing agreements as American military commanders build up troops to secure Baghdad.

John Roberts, the U.S. embassy information officer in Baghdad, said Cheney would also hold talks with General David Petraeus, commander of the 150,000 American troops in Iraq. Roberts gave no further details.

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