Tuesday, February 20, 2007

tony blair will confirm timetable for withdrawal of british troops from iraq

7,000 British troops are serving in Iraq, 3,000 of whom will spend Christmas with their families this year.

Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to announce to the House of Commons tomorrow that he will set a timetable for withdrawal of British troops from Iraq: 1,500 in the next few months; 3,000 by the end of the year.

Mr Blair's expected announcement comes US President George W Bush said he wanted to send 21,500 extra troops to Iraq.

Last month, the Liberal Democrats called for all UK troops to be withdrawn by October.

But Mr Blair said that to "set an arbitrary timetable... that we will pull British troops out in October, come what may... would send the most disastrous signal to the people we are fighting in Iraq".
Blair has apparently had a change of heart, which is good news for the thousands of British soldiers in Iraq and their families at home.

It's also good news for the royal family, who expected to send Prince Harry to the line of battle:
British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said in January that the United Kingdom was unlikely to send any more troops to Iraq.

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