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Bush, Maliki Agree to Speed Up Training of Iraqi Forces


U.S. President George Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have agreed to speed-up training of Iraqi forces to accelerate the transfer of security responsibilities.

The leaders spoke via video conference Saturday. The White House says the meeting lasted 50 minutes.

The White House also said there are no strains in the relationship with Mr. Maliki.

Aides to the prime minister said the Iraqi leader told the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, Friday that he was Washington's friend but "not America's man in Iraq."

In other news, the U.S. military in Iraq says American troops killed a suspected terrorist in a raid Saturday south of Baghdad. It say forces also captured several suspected insurgents, including one believed to be responsible for bringing foreign fighters into Iraq.

The military also announced the death of a U.S. Marine - bringing this month's troop death toll to 98. That makes one of the deadliest months in Iraq for the American military since the March 2003 invasion.

In violence in Baghdad Saturday, one person was killed when a bomb went off in a minibus.

In northern Iraq, joint U.S.-Iraqi raids in Mosul have captured six suspected terrorists, including the head of the Ansar al-Sunna group in Mosul, Mory Hassan Hussain.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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