About British troops could leave Iraq by end of 2006
|November 15th, 2005||#1|
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British troops could leave Iraq by end of 2006 info
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has predicted.
In a TV interview to be broadcast in Britain on Sunday, Talabani
said no Iraqis wanted foreign troops to remain indefinitely in their
country, adding that homegrown troops should be ready to take over from
British forces in the southern provinces around Basra by the end of next
But he warned that an immediate withdrawal of U.S.-led forces would
be a catastrophe for Iraq and would lead to civil war, with harmful
consequences for the whole Middle East.
"We don't want British forces forever in Iraq. Within one year _ I
think at the end of 2006 _ Iraqi troops will be ready to replace British
forces in the south," Talabani said in the interview with Jonathan Dimbleby
for Independent Television. The station released details from the interview
on Saturday before it aired.
Pressed on whether this assessment amounted to a commitment,
Talabani replied: "Well, I haven't been in negotiations, but in my opinion
and according to my study of the situation, I can say that it is the just
estimation of the situation ... There is not one Iraqi that wants that
forever the troops remain in the country."
He said, however, that immediate withdrawal "would lead to a kind of
civil war and ... we will lose what we have done for liberating Iraq from
worst kind of dictatorship."
"Instead of having a democratic, stable Iraq, we will have a civil
war in Iraq, we will have troubles in Iraq, (and they) will affect all the
Talabani called for a gradual pullout, with close coordination
between coalition nations and the Iraqi authorities.
He acknowledged that an upsurge of violence could be expected in the
run-up to National Assembly elections, scheduled for Dec. 15, but denied
that insurgents would be able to influence the result of the ballot.
"I think they will fail, because the Iraqi people are now determined
to participate in election," Talabani said. "Even our Sunni Arab brothers
are participating actively _ they have many lists for election, and they
want to be represented in the next parliament."
Talabani denied there was any link between Britain's involvement in
the war in Iraq and the July 7 terror attacks in London that killed 56
people, including the four suicide bombers.
"I cannot accept this," he said. "I think the terrorist activity ...
is not depending on the war of Iraq."