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Iraq: U.S. Forces Hand Over South-Central Sector To Polish Command

Baghdad, 3 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A Polish-led force took over much of south-central Iraq from U.S. forces in a ceremony today. U.S. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, said in the transfer ceremony that he has "absolute faith and confidence" in the Polish-led troops.

The Polish commander, Major General Andrzej Tyszkiewicz, called the members of his multinational force "soldiers in the war on terrorism."

"As a result of the events of 11 September we have become soldiers in the war on terrorism. Our countries decided to join in the effort to ensure basic human values and solidarity in the struggle for the right to live without fear and hunger," Tyszkiewicz said.

The Poles will preside over an international force of some 9,000 troops from 21 countries but will not yet have command over the troubled city of Al-Najaf.