Foreign troops should stay, says Iraqi President

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq — The Iraqi President Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer said yesterday, on February 01 2005, that the US and other foreign troops should remain in Iraq. "It's only complete nonsense to ask the troops to leave in this chaos and this vacuum of power."

He expects foreign troops to leave after insurgent groups have been defeated, the security situation has been improved and Iraq's own security forces are strengthened. "By the end of this year, we could see the number of foreign troops decreasing," he added.

Other Iraqi ministers echoed the President's statement.

"We don't want to have foreign troops in our country" said Hazem Shaalan, the Iraq Defence Minister.

"But at the same time, we believe that these forces should stay for some time until we are able to control the borders and establish a new modern army and we have efficient intelligence."

"At that time ... we'll ask them to leave."