Australian troops to leave Iraq by mid-2008: Rudd

Australian prime minister-elect Kevin Rudd said Friday he would pull the country's 550 combat troops out of Iraq by the middle of next year, marking a significant shift in Canberra's role in the conflict.

 Australian troops to leave Iraq by mid-2008: Rudd
Rudd was elected in a landslide on Saturday that ousted veteran conservative prime minister John Howard, a staunch supporter of the US-led war in Iraq and a friend of US President George W. Bush.

Former diplomat Rudd had promised to withdraw the battle group from Talil in southern Iraq if elected but said he would leave behind some Australian soldiers, including those providing security at Australia's embassy in Baghdad.

"The combat force in Iraq, we would have home by around about the middle of next year," Rudd told a Melbourne radio station.

"We've not begun our discussions with the United States on that. We'll have a meeting with the United States ambassador before too long to set up the appropriate processes for discussing that."

Australia has some 1,500 troops involved in Iraqi operations, although most are outside the country. Only the 550 combat troops deployed in the south of the war-torn nation are subject to Rudd's withdrawal plan.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Kasım 2007, 12:56