Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Italy joins Bulgaria, Ukraine in Iraq Troop Withdrawls

Italy said today it will start drawing down its 3,000-strong contingent in Iraq in September. Bulgaria also called for a partial withdrawal, and Ukraine welcomed home its first wave of returning troops.

"I've spoken about it with Tony Blair, and it's the public opinion of our countries that expects this decision. In September, we will begin a progressive reduction of the number of our soldiers in Iraq," said Berlusconi. But, he added, the withdrawal is tied to the Iraqis being able to secure the country.

That's the wriggle room right there for Berlusconi. This is a PR move. Note that a conditional "Progressive reduction" to is to begin in September. Berlusconi's opponents are likely to press for a full withdrawal -by September -not just starting then.


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