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Minister declares Polish troops likely to leave Iraq end of 2005

15th December 2004
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Poland will reduce its armed forces serving in Iraq next year.

From February 2005, there will be a maximum of 1,700 Polish soldiers there, 700 less than at present. Yesterday the government asked the President to prolong the mission until the end of 2005. Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdziński said that the situation in Iraq is stabilizing, and that it is possible to reduce the number of Polish soldiers as they have moved to police a more peaceful region. The number of Polish troops will be reduced after the Iraqi elections, scheduled for January 31, 2005. The troop reductions may be postponed only in the case of postponed elections. Minister Szmajdziński expressed his belief that if everything goes according to plan, 2005 might be the last year Polish soldiers will be present in Iraq. The Polish government will make the final decision after the Iraqi general elections. The stabilizing mission in Iraq will cost taxpayers zł.216 million in 2005. (Rzeczpospolita, p. A3) D.W.

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