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US to Cut Back on Diplomatic Personnel in Iraq

Antenna Audio, Inc./Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While the American military presence in Iraq is now barely existent, there are still plenty of diplomats and other personnel in the country.  But perhaps, not for long.

There are reports that the State Department is ready to cut its diplomatic corps in half as well as the number of contractors operating in Iraq.

Presently, there are 2,000 State Department personnel working in the U.S. Embassy, the largest such mission in the world.  Meanwhile, it's estimated that 16,000 other personnel, including contractors, are in the country.

The U.S. wants to maintain some influence in Iraq after almost nine years of a military occupation, but it's become clearer that the ruling Shiite government wants as little interference as possible from foreign diplomats.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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