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Armitage to MidEast to Discuss Iraq Elections

The United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage will embark on a trip to the Middle East this week in order to boost American efforts in Iraq ahead of the January elections, officials have said.

The trip has not been officially announced, but according to AFP, a senior official said that Armitage will be heading for Turkey, Syria and Jordan and that the Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs William Burns is expected to accompany him.

Talks will reportedly focus on bilateral issues in Iraq and efforts to involve the Sunnis in the elections despite attacks and violence from terrorists in the country.

Relations between Turkey and the U.S. were strained after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and Syria has also been at odds with the U.S. over allegations that Damascus is supporting insurgency in the neighboring Iraq.