Iraqi troops ready to replace coalition within two years

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
LONDON, Oct 7 (AFP) - Iraq's own army will be in a position to replace US-led troops in securing the country within two years, President Jalal Talabani said Friday during a visit to London.

"Within two years I think our troops will be ready to replace the coalition forces in Iraq," he told Britain's Sky News television.

"But the withdrawal of these forces must depend on a resolution from the
(UN) Security Council and negotiations between the Iraqi government and the coalition forces," he added.

Talabani arrived in London on Thursday and immediately held talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair, after which he urged US and British troops not to withdraw from Iraq too soon.

"If they pull out it would be catastrophic for the people of Iraq and the cause of democracy and it would be a win for terrorists," he said at a joint news conference with Blair.

Speaking Friday, Talabani hailed the role of foreign troops in overthrowing Saddam Hussein's regime when they invaded Iraq in March 2003.

"I think one of the noble goals which the coalition forces achieved is that
27 million Iraqis were freed from this dictatorship, which was not only dangerous for the Iraqi people but for the Middle East," he said.

"Iraq was a concentration camp above the earth, and the mass graves are beneath it. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis are buried in these mass graves."