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Thune to visit South Dakota troops in Iraq

Senate delegation visiting Iraq after election

February 1, 2005

Washington, D.C. —  Sen. John Thune will travel to Iraq this weekend for a first-hand look at the country after the elections, his office announced today. The Senator will meet with senior Iraqi and Coalition officials and thank South Dakota troops serving in Iraq.

The South Dakota senator will join two other senators, Johnny Isakson, R-GA, and James Inhofe, R-OK, for the trip, the first Congressional delegation to visit post-election Iraq.

“As this weekend’s elections showed, we are making great progress in Iraq, but hard work remains,” said Thune, R-SD. “By going to Iraq, I can talk with our troops and get a first-hand look at the challenges we face. During my meetings with Iraqi and Coalition officials, I hope to learn what else Congress can do to support our troops and help bring stability and freedom to Iraq.”

The trip’s itinerary includes briefings by coalition generals, senior U.S. and British advisors, and senior Iraqi officials. But the Senator said the trip’s highpoint will be a visit with South Dakota troops serving in Iraq.

“Some of South Dakota’s finest are serving in Iraq right now,” Thune said. “We are so proud of our troops’ service. The best part of the trip will be thanking our troops and telling them that they are in our prayers.”

The senator will fly to Iraq via Germany, where he will visit troops at a military hospital, and Jordan, where he will visit an Iraqi police training program.