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Gates-Iraq 3rdLd-Writethru 04-19

8. Iraq

Gates warns leaders

Defense Secretary Robert Gates slipped into Iraq Thursday to warn Iraqi leaders that the U.S. commitment to a military buildup there is not open-ended.

Gates said the political tumult in Washington over financing the military presence in Iraq shows that both the American public and the Bush administration are running out of patience with the war. He was speaking to reporters in Israel just before his quick flight to Baghdad.

"I would like to see faster progress," he said, adding that momentum by the Iraqi government on political reconciliation as well as legislation on sharing oil revenue would "begin the process to send a message that the leaders are beginning to work together."

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Gates flew by helicopter to Fallujah for a briefing by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Gen. Peter Pace, the Joint Chiefs chairman. Fallujah is a stronghold for Sunni insurgents.

He also planned to meet with Iraqi political leaders.

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