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Turkey anticipates US to trim forces in two years but not complete pull out
21/03/2009   |   07:38 PM | Gulf News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
ANKARA, March 21 (KUNA) -- Turkish foreign minister Ali Babacan anticipated Saturday that the US would reduce size of its forces in Iraq within two years, but ruled out full American withdrawal by 2011.
The number of US forces in Iraq "might decline to the lowest level," Babacan said in an interview with a local TV channel, but ruled out the US military to completely leave the country by 2011, echoing western intelligence reports.
The US forces will remain in Iraq in the foreseeable future "as long as there are unsolved issues," said Babacan who did not specify these matters.
The foreign minister did not rule out an active Turkish role in Iraq coinciding with the American forces' withdrawal from the country, particularly in security domain and training the Iraqi security personnel to protect their country.
Turkey wants to see Iraq independent and sovereigny and can preserve its national unity and territorial integrity, he said.
Babacan said priorities of US President Barack Obama and Turkey were identical regarding Iraq. He added that Turkey was historically, culturally and geographically close to Iraq, and realized the regional problems very well. (end) mm.bs KUNA 211938 Mar 09NNNN
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