THE Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, made an unannounced visit to Baghdad yesterday.
Mr Rudd, who plans to withdraw about 550 troops from Iraq by the middle of next year, met the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in his office.
The matters that the two prime ministers discussed were not disclosed.
Australia was one of the first countries to commit troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Mr Rudd campaigned partly on a promise to bring frontline forces home. Australian troops are based mainly in Iraq's less troubled Shiite Muslim south, where they help maintain security and train Iraqi forces.
The former prime minister John Howard boosted relations with the US with strong support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr Rudd has said he wants Australia to retain its close US ties.
While Australia is planning to withdraw its troops from Iraq, it wants to regain its role as a leading wheat supplier to the country, which is one of the world's biggest importers. Iraq last year switched to buying most of its wheat from the US.
Iraq agreed in October to resume buying wheat sales by the middle of next year after suspending dealings with the monopoly exporter AWB in February 2006, as the Cole inquiry was investigating kickbacks paid by AWB to Saddam Hussein's government.
Mr Rudd's office would not comment on the Iraq visit last night.