Australia PM says troops will stay in Iraq

October 9th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Australia PM says troops will stay in Iraq

Media: The Associated Press
Date: 09 October 2006

CANBERRA, Australia_Prime Minister John Howard on Monday vowed his
government will keep troops in Iraq despite a new poll showing that most
Australians support the major opposition party's policy of withdrawing the

The opposition center-left Labor Party is leading Howard's center-right
coalition ahead of elections due late next year, according to the same AC
Nielsen poll published in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

The poll showed that 59 percent of respondents thought that Australian
troops should be withdrawn and 36 percent said they should stay.

Australia sent 2,000 troops to support U.S. and British forces in the Iraq
invasion in 2003 and 1,300 Australian troops remain in and around Iraq.

Howard has vowed the troops will stay in Iraq as long as they are needed.
However, Labor Leader Kim Beazley has pledged to withdraw all troops except
those guarding Australian diplomats if he wins government.

Responding to the poll, Howard said international forces would unleash
further violence in Iraq by suddenly withdrawing.

"We will not be changing our policy," Howard told reporters.

"If it were good enough for Australia to pull out of Iraq, as Mr. Beazley
wants to do, why isn't it also good enough for America and Britain and
others to do the same?" he said.

"Anybody with an elementary understanding of the situation in that country
now knows that a sudden withdrawal of foreign forces would unleash further
violence; would cripple any hope the country has of establishing a
democratic future," he added.

The poll showed Labor was leading the government 54 percent to 46 percent,
having extended its lead by 2 percentage points over the past month.

The poll, based on a nationwide random telephone survey of 1,408 adults from
Thursday to Saturday last week, has a margin of error of 2.6 percentage

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