Source AP ©

Poland to withdraw troops from Iraq in summer 2008

Poland’s new defense minister said Tuesday that the country could pull its troops out of Iraq in summer, 2008.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk's government will seek the approval of President Lech Kaczynski, the army supreme commander, to send a last rotation of troops to Iraq in the first half of 2008, Defense Minister Bogdan Klich said in remarks published by Rzeczpospolita daily.

"However, it will be a closing mission which will prepare the final pullout of our troops," Klich was quoted as saying. "I hope it will be possible in the summer of 2008."

The president has spoken out against the pullout of troops and analysts say the two sides need to reach an agreement. The president has to sign off on any government decision to bring troops home.

Tusk made the withdrawal from Iraq a key element of the election campaign that swept him to power last month, but has not yet announced a timeline for the plan.

Poland has 900 troops leading an international force of some 2,000 soldiers in southeastern Iraq. The mission so far has the president's authorization until Dec. 31 this year.

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