-  Monday 24 February 2020

Rice gets a ‘Straw’ deal on official jet

London, April 4:
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was rapped for ungentlemanly conduct today after reportedly commandeering US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s private quarters on her official jet.
Rice was reported in a number of British newspapers to have graciously offered her British counterpart the use of her bed and cabin on the Boeing 757 plane and Straw ungallantly accepted, leaving her to sleep on the floor.
What one newspaper called “Bedgate” is said to have happened as the political bedfellows flew to Kuwait at the weekend before transferring to a military flight bound for Baghdad.
Rice was in Straw’s northwest England constituency of Blackburn last week in a reciprocal visit after the British politician toured her native Alabama last year.
In Baghdad yesterday, Rice and Straw met nearly all of Iraq’s squabbling factions over two days of unusually hard-edged diplomacy. Rice stayed overnight to make the point that security is improving despite relentless violence that has eroded public support in the US for a war now in its fourth year.
“First and foremost, the purpose of this trip is to encourage and to urge the Iraqis to do what the Iraqis must do because the Iraqi people deserve it,” Rice said. “But yes, the American people, the British people ... need to know that everything is being done to keep progress moving.” Rice said she and Straw repeated a strong message that the next government has to curb the power of sectarian militias, which are blamed for much of the current wave of reprisal killings among Shiites and Sunnis. The unified government, she said, can “produce conditions under which people are secure and these militia groups can be disbanded.” Her remark acknowledged that the militias exist in part because they provide protection that many Iraqis do not yet trust their police or Army to supply.

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