Vice President Joe Biden is in Baghdad again, his seventh trip here in the last two years.
Biden arrived last night and met first thing this morning with the U.S. ambassador, Jim Jeffrey, and the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, Gen. Lloyd Austin. The visit was his first since Iraq announced a new government last month, led by Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and including members of all the country's major political blocs.
"I'm here to help the Iraqis celebrate the progress they made," Biden told reporters at a brief photo-op at the U.S. Embassy. "They formed a government. And that's a good thing. They have a long way to go."
Biden is expected to meet later today with Iraqi leaders including Maliki, his rival Iyad Allawi, President Jalal Talabani and the new parliamentary speaker, Osama al Nujaifi.
As if to welcome the vice president, at least two explosions occurred in Baghdad this morning, with news reports saying that two people were killed and about 11 injured.