Poland will pull troops from Iraq, minister says

This is a video of an anti Iraq war demonstration in Warsaw, Poland.

From Al Jazeera:

Poland to pull troops from Iraq

The new Polish defence minister has said his country will withdraw its 900 troops deployed in Iraq next year.

The previous government of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the former prime minister, had extended the deployment of its 900-strong force until the end of 2007 and planned to send more troops in 2008.

But Bogdan Klich, the new defence minister from the Liberal government, told the public radio station Jedynma: “I can confirm that in 2008, the Polish military contingent in Iraq will be withdrawn.”

Klich said on Saturday that the details of the withdrawal would be announced next Friday when Donald Tusk, Poland’s new prime minister, outlines his government’s policies in parliament.

Warsaw had previously been one of most vocal supporters of the US policy in Iraq.

Polish troops took part in the invasion in 2003, sparking a bitter verbal confrontation with anti-war European Union members, notably France.

US-Polish ties strengthened after the election in 2005 of the previous Law and Justice party administration.

The conservative government of prime minister Kaczynski, the identical twin of the current Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, had said it was planning to send a new group of soldiers in 2008.

Snap win

Tusk’s Civic Platform, which won October’s snap general elections, had earlier pledged a swift pull-out of Polish armed forces from Iraq.

Tusk said in November it was important that Washington recognise that his Civic Platform had won power with a pledge to “end the mission in Iraq at least in its current form, in 2008”.

In October, Edward Pietrzyk, Poland’s ambassador to Iraq, was seriously injured and his driver killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad.

A total of 22 Polish soldiers have been killed in Iraq since 2003.

The current 900-strong Polish contingent is stationed in the Diwaniyah region of Iraq, where 2,600 were deployed in 2003.

A public opinion poll last June found that 81 per cent of Poles were opposed to their soldiers’ deployment alongside US troops in Iraq, with only 15 per cent in favour.

2 February 2008 update on Poland and US missile shield: here.

1 thought on “Poland will pull troops from Iraq, minister says

  1. Pingback: After Aznar, Blair, Berlusconi, Bush’s Australian crony Howard falls | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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