Britain May Start Pulling Out of
Britain may withdraw thousands of troops from Iraq by end of 2007. By Jennifer Quinn
The Associated Press
Monday 27 November 2006
London - Britain said Monday it expects to withdraw thousands of its 7,000 military personnel from Iraq by the end of next year, while Poland and Italy announced the impending withdrawal of their remaining troops.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski said his country, a US ally in Iraq and Afghanistan, would pull its remaining 900 soldiers out of Iraq by the end of 2007. And Italian Premier Romano Prodi said the last of Italy's soldiers in Iraq some 60-70 troops will return home this week, ending the Italian contingent's presence in the south of the country after more than three years.
British Defense Secretary Des Browne was the second senior official in recent days to talk of reducing the number of British troops in Iraq. In a speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Browne also warned Iran that it faces increasing isolation if it does not use its influence in Iraq constructively.
Last week, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said Britain may be able to hand over security responsibility in the southern port city of Basra by the spring of 2007. Britain also hopes to hand security control over to the Iraqis in the province of Maysan on the Iranian border in January.