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Iraqi Leader Rejects Higher Foreign Troop Levels

Iraqi President al-Yawir (file photo) 4 August 2004 -- Interim Iraqi President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawir said today that Baghdad does not need additional foreign troops to maintain security.

Commenting to a group of Iraqi lawyers, al-Yawir said Iraqi security forces are themselves becoming capable of preserving stability.

"Actually, I am personally very bewildered," al-Yawir said. "Why do we keep bringing troops from here and there at a time when we have human resources in Iraq that we should be proud of? We have men and women at an international level of efficiency, and we should start preparing our Iraqi security forces and stop calling for help from other countries. We have people who are supposed to be responsible for security in the country."

Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi last week called on Islamic and Arab countries to help stabilize Iraq by deploying troops.

Al-Yawir also said today that it is time to put into effect the national security law adopted by the government in July. He said it must be implemented such that it respects the dignity of Iraqis and the rule of law.