Source Pravda.Ru

Bulgaria may withdraw from Iraq

Bulgaria is likely to withdraw from Iraq, should NATO takes on greater role in the post-war country.

According to Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, who left for Istanbul, Bulgaria hopes that the Summit to kick off on Monday will manage to overcome the European opinion-split over the future of Iraq and greenlight the Alliance's deeper involvement to end the Iraqi crisis.

This is the first time that Bulgaria will participate in a NATO forum as full-fledged member after the country joined the Alliance in April.

Besides Bulgaria's top diplomat, the NATO Summit will be attended by President Georgi Parvanov and Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov and Chief of Army Staff Nikola Kolev, as well as by numerous world leaders who will discuss also the Alliance mission to train Iraqi forces.

The training would involve alliance instructors working both inside and outside of the country, Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said on Sunday.

However he stressed it was too early to say how many NATO military personnel would be going to Iraq or when they would be deployed.

More details of the mission would become clear after Nato leaders confirmed their approval of the training at the summit in Turkey on Monday, de Hoop Scheffer said adding that the handover of sovereignty to an Iraqi government scheduled for Wednesday should lead NATO to change its mindset on Iraq.

NATO leaders reached an initial agreement on plans to help train Iraq's armed forces following an urgent request from the county's interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

NATO's offer of training would be a boost for the United States, which has sought a wider role by the alliance in Iraq. Opposition led by France and Germany has prevented an Alliance's military role on the ground in Iraq, although several allies, including Bulgaria, have individually sent troops to help the US-led coalition.