Asked what the Prime Minister would say to the large number of people who believed that the Iraq war had done more harm than good to Iraq, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said that we were on the eve of an election in Iraq. You would have to check the history books for the last one, but there certainly hadn’t been a democratic election in Iraq for many, many years. The Government saw that as a great step forward.
Asked if Geoff Hoon had agreed an exit strategy with Iraqi authorities and the US, the PMS referred journalists to the Prime Minister’s interview with the Financial Times published last Tuesday. The Prime Minister had spoken about a timeline following the election. Prime Minister Alawi had also set out what would happen after the election. The Prime Minister made it clear that both the UK Government and the Iraqis would like to see the troops leave at some stage, but that would not happen until the situation in Iraq was more secure. We expected the Iraqi security forces to improve security over time. These were issues that we would look at after this weekend’s election. Put to her that the Prime Minister had said that he would like a significant reduction of forces in Iraq by the end of 2005, the PMS said that the Prime Minister had set out the position in his FT interview. In terms of withdrawing troops from Iraq we had set out yesterday that we were planning a reduction of 350 troops by the end of February.
Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news
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