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Senators cancel visit to Middle East this week

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ A group of U.S. senators including Oklahoma Republican Don Nickles canceled a planned trip to the Middle East this week after learning they would not be allowed to visit Iraq.

Nickles and four other U.S. senators had planned to leave on the Middle East tour Sunday that was to have included a stop in Iraq as the United States prepared to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis.

Sens. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., also planned to make the trip. Besides Iraq, the tour was to include travel to Kuwait, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But nearly as soon as the trip was announced, the senators learned that the Iraq portion of the trip had been canceled because of security concerns in the volatile country, Nelson spokesman David DiMartino said Sunday.
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