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Britain Says No Decision On Iraq Pullout

Tony Blair visiting troops in Iraq in 2004 (file photo) 12 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Prime Minister Tony Blair's office says the British government has not made any decision to withdraw troops from Iraq, though contingency planning for such a move is occurring.

Blair's official spokesman, speaking under customary condition of anonymity, made the remark in reaction to a British newspaper's publication of a secret British Defense Ministry memorandum saying that the United States and Britain are considering, among many options, withdrawing more than 100,000 coalition troops from Iraq in 2006.

British officials have confirmed the authenticity of the document.

In Washington, U.S. military spokesman Joe Carpenter said a large reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq is linked to conditions inside Iraq, and that a fixed date cannot now be given for a withdrawal.

Carpenter said withdrawal conditions would include successful political advances, such as the adoption of an Iraqi constitution and national elections, as well as an improvement in the Iraqi security situation and Iraqi forces being able to maintain order.


For RFE/RL's full coverage of developments in Iraq, see "The New Iraq"

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