Obama says will visit Iraq and Afghanistan
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Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Monday he plans to visit Iraq and Afghanistan before November's election and was encouraged by a recent reduction in violence in Iraq.
Obama, who later picked up the endorsement of former Vice President Al Gore at a Detroit rally on Monday night, spoke by telephone with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari and reiterated his support for a pullout of U.S. troops.
"I told him that I looked forward to seeing him in Baghdad," Obama said in Flint, Michigan, an important state in the November election against Republican John McCain.
"I emphasized to him how encouraged I was by the reductions in violence in Iraq but also insisted that it is important for us to begin the process of withdrawing U.S. troops, making it clear that we have no interest in permanent bases in Iraq," he said.
Obama aides did not give details of the visit. McCain, a staunch advocate of the war and frequent visitor to Iraq, has repeatedly criticized Obama for his failure to visit the country since 2006.