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Bremer: Troops Will Leave Iraq If Asked By New Leaders

L. Paul Bremer (file photo) 14 May 2004 -- The top U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, said that if the Iraqi government that assumes power on 30 June asks America to leave Iraq, Washington will comply.

The makeup of the provisional government that is due to take over in Iraq after 30 June is still being negotiated, and Bremer said he fully expects American forces to maintain a substantial presence in the country after that date.

But Bremer stressed that, as a matter of principle, America does not stay where it is not welcome. He said if the new interim government formally asks American troops to return home, they will do so.

In Washington yesterday, there was confusion on the issue after U.S. Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, testifying before Congress, initially said U.S. forces would leave Iraq if asked to do so by the new Iraqi government. Grossman later reversed himself and said an interim Iraqi government would not have that authority. (AP/New York Times/AFP)