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1400 UTC Hourly Newscast for Monday, April 18

Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, receives a gift from his Iraqi counterpart Khaled al-Obeidi during their meeting at the Ministry of Defense, Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 18, 2016. (AP Photo)
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From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Joe Palka reporting.

Defense Secretary lands in Iraq…

U.S. defense chief Ash Carter has arrived in Iraq for talks with his commanders and Iraqi leaders about ways the U.S. can ramp-up the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

The visit comes as Washington considers an increase in the number of American troops in Iraq. VOA spoke with correspondent Carla Babb, who is with the Secretary, with regard to his options in helping local troops:

“Because more U.S. troops on the ground is going to be a very sensitive thing for the Iraqis. The Iraqis take pride in doing this fight themselves. They do not want to have a lot of Americans on the ground. President (Barack) Obama does not want to have a lot of Americans on the ground either because, as Secretary Carter has put it, this is not about U.S. troops substituting for local forces. Everything that is being done here by the United States is to enable those local forces to push the Islamic State out."

A collection of Syrian rebel groups said today (Monday) they were launching a "battle" in response to pro-government violations of a cessation of hostilities agreement that has been in place since late February.

But both sides have accused the other of repeated violations during the past two months.

In the meantime, in Switzerland, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura greeting China's Special Envoy, Xie Xiaoyan, for another day of talks.

This is Xie Xiaoyan.

"I said to Mr. (Staffan) de Mistura, and I said it on different occasions, to me diplomacy is the art of making compromises. So during the discussions and the negotiations, all parties will have to consider the requests from the other side."

This is VOA News.


Words in This Newscast

ramp up – v. increase or cause to increase in amount

correspondent – n. news reporter; a person whose job is to send news stories to a newspaper, radio station or television program

regard – n. care or concern for something

option – n. a choice or possibility

sensitiveadj. easily angered by the things people say or think about you

pride – n. a feeling that you respect yourself and should be respected by others; a feeling that you are more important than others

substituting – v. replacing

meantime – adv. for now; for the present

envoy – v. someone who represents a government in talks or other dealing with another government

greeting – n. a message that expressed good wishes to someone

occasion – n. a special time or event

party – n. a person or group taking one side in a dispute or competition; a person or group taking part in an action

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