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Romania plans to send more troops to Iraq

Flag of Romania
Traian Băsescu, the president of Romania

Tuesday, January 18, 2005Romania's president Traian Băsescu has pledged to send an extra 100 infantry troops to Iraq to assist the United Nations peacekeepers in the area and to ensure security in the upcoming legislative elections, set to take place on January 30, 2005.

The country, a US ally and a member of NATO since 2004, already has 730 troops in Iraq, being the 8th largest force in the coalition of the willing. The additional deployment will make Romania's force the 7th largest in Iraq, raising its number to 830 troops.

Romania's strategic position in Southeastern Europe is of importance to the USA

These announcements come amid the global trend of military withdrawal from Iraq. Spain pulled its troops out in early 2004 following a change of government, while Romania's neighbours Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria, also staunch US allies, are planning a reduction in the number of troops in the coming year.

This news also comes at a time when the USA is planning to move its European troops from bases in Germany to more eastern locations. The most likely candidates are Romania and Bulgaria, which are in strategic positions close to the Middle East.

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