Note to world leaders: Next time you need instant access to foreign dignitaries and top military brass, forget the usual protocols. Just send in Angelina Jolie.
Hollywood’s globe-trotting leading lady swooped into Baghdad on Thursday to highlight the plight of Iraqi refugees, gaining an audience with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the American Embassy said.
On her mission as a U.N. goodwill ambassador, Jolie also met with Iraqi migration officials to stress that there needs to be a coherent plan for the more than 2 million internally displaced Iraqis who are beginning to trickle back to their homes amid a recent lull in violence.
“There’s lots of goodwill and lots of discussion, but there seems to be just a lot of talk at the moment,” Jolie said in excerpts of an interview aired on CNN.
Jolie mingled with American troops during lunch at a dining facility in the heavily guarded Green Zone, which houses the embassy and Iraqi government offices. She grabbed a red plastic tray at the mess hall, collected her lunch and sat at a long banquet table to eat — her fork tines down, of course — as flashbulbs from soldiers’ digital cameras lit up the wall behind her.
“And a big part of what it’s going to affect,” she said, “is how these people are returned and settled into their homes and their community and brought back together and whether they can live together and what their communities look like.”