Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blair 'to confirm Iraq timetable'


Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to announce a timetable for the withdrawal of UK troops from Iraq.

Mr Blair is due to make a statement about the 7,000 British troops serving in Iraq at the Commons on Wednesday.

The BBC's James Landale said 1,500 troops were expected to return home in months, rising to 3,000 by Christmas.

Downing Street has not confirmed the reports but Whitehall sources have told the BBC the process could be slowed down if the situation in Iraq worsens.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "It is right that the prime minister should update Parliament first."

However, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe confirmed that President George W Bush had spoken to Mr Blair on Tuesday. Mr Bush recently announced plans to send 21,500 more US troops to Iraq.

Mr Johndroe said: "While the United Kingdom is maintaining a robust force in southern Iraq, we're pleased that conditions in Basra have improved sufficiently that they are able to transition more control to the Iraqis.

"The United States shares the same goal of turning responsibility over to the Iraqi Security Forces and reducing the number of American troops in Iraq."

BBC political correspondent James Landale said: "We have been expecting an announcement for some time on this."

However, he said reports that all troops will have returned home by the end of 2008 was "not a fair representation of what is true at the moment". ......

1 comment:

Unknown said...

eya bud, just checkin in... hanging at toni's,