U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has made a surprise visit to Iraq, just days after parliamentary elections touted as a major step toward the emergence of Iraq as a self-governing state.
Mr. Cheney arrived in Baghdad on Sunday under a shroud of secrecy and high security. He was briefed by U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, and toured military installations in the capital.
The vice president praised last week's polls, calling the high voter turnout remarkable. President Bush is to deliver a major address on Iraq this evening.
Meanwhile, insurgents in Iraq have killed at least 17 people in a string of attacks. At least 10 police and security personnel were among the dead.
Vice President Cheney stopped in Iraq on his way to Afghanistan to attend the opening of that country's new, democratically-elected parliament on Monday.