Thursday, September 15, 2005

Talabani: Iraq ready to replace some foreign troops

Iraqi troops are making major improvements just under the radar. Expect to hear more of this type of talk soon.

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Home-grown units could replace some of the foreign troops in Iraq by the end of this month but no timetable exists for a pullout of U.S.-led forces, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on Thursday.

Talabani caused controversy last week when he first told the Washington Post the United States could withdraw as many as 50,000 troops by the end of the year and then aligned himself with President George W. Bush's view that a withdrawal deadline would only fan the insurgency.

Asked about the 530 Danish troops in Iraq, Talabani said, "I think, we will be able at the end of this month to replace many units from the allied forces, but we must have a common agreement between your government and our government for the timetable of the removal forces."

Talabani repeated that Iraq did not want to set a timetable on any major withdrawals.

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