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Hungary to withdraw from Iraq

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    Hungary will withdraw all of its 300 troops stationed in Iraq by the end of March 2005, the country s prime minister has said.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4 4:02 PM
      Hungary will withdraw all of its 300 troops stationed in Iraq by the
      end of March 2005, the country's prime minister has said.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3979349.stm


      Hungary will withdraw all of its 300 troops stationed in Iraq by the
      end of March 2005, the country's prime minister has said.

      Ferenc Gyurcsany made the announcement at a military ceremony in the
      capital Budapest on Wednesday.

      He said Hungary was obliged to keep its troops, who have a non-
      combat role, in Iraq until after elections in January.

      There has been intense pressure from the public and opposition
      groups to pull them out.

      The main conservative opposition party initially supported the war
      but changed its position and now favours withdrawal.

      Iraqi request

      Mr Gyurcsany, who was chosen as prime minister in August, made the
      announcement at a ceremony marking the end of compulsory military
      service in Hungary.

      TROOPS CURRENTLY IN IRAQ
      US - 142,000
      UK - 8,361
      Italy - 3,169
      South Korea - 2,800
      Poland - 2,400
      Ukraine - 1,400
      Netherlands - 1,345
      Australia - 920
      Romania - 700
      Japan - 550
      Denmark - 496
      Bulgaria - 485
      El Salvador - 380
      Hungary - 300

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      Source: globalsecurity.org
      "We are obliged to stay there until the [Iraqi] elections," he said.

      Even to keep troops in Iraq to the end of March will require
      parliamentary approval.

      US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Hungary's
      intention to keep troops in Iraq for the first three months of 2005
      was what the Iraqi government requested.

      "That's the news today and that's good and we welcome that."

      The Hungarian troops are based in Hilla, south of Baghdad, and are
      under Polish command.

      One Hungarian soldier was killed in June when a convoy he was
      guarding was hit by a roadside bomb.

      Government spokeswoman Boglar Laszlo told the Associated Press news
      agency that the Iraqi government had asked Budapest in a letter
      three weeks ago to extend its troops' mission by about a year.

      Poland announced several weeks ago that it would start to reduce its
      2,500-strong contingent in January and was considering a complete
      withdrawal by the end of 2005.

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