No Belgian troops for Iraq

26th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 April 2004, BRUSSELS - The Belgian Prime Minister has ruled out the possibility of sending Belgian troops to Iraq while the country remains under US and not UN control, but he has confirmed the country will increase its military presence in Afghanistan.

26 April 2004

BRUSSELS - The Belgian Prime Minister has ruled out the possibility of sending Belgian troops to Iraq while the country remains under US and not UN control, but he has confirmed the country will increase its military presence in Afghanistan.

Speaking over the weekend to Flemish newspaper Het Niewsblad, Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt conceded that a foreign military presence in Iraq would probably be necessary for some time.

But he insisted that any such force should "operate under a UN flag".

While this was not the case he said the question of whether or not Belgium should send troops to the politically unstable middle eastern state was "not on the agenda." 

Verhofstadt also issued a stark warning to US President George W Bush, whose troops are finding it increasingly difficult to control Iraq.

"The situation in Iraq is becoming unsustainable. Iraq risks becoming a quagmire that the Americans will become bogged down in," he said.

Verhofstadt added that it was in Bush's interest, "to accept a multilateral approach under the UN," for trying to administer the country.

On the question of Afghanistan, Verhofstadt confirmed that Belgium intends to more than double its military presence in the country.

It currently has 290 soldiers stationed there and intends to increase this figure to 600.

Verhofstadt added that he intends to visit Afghanistan soon to encourage the Belgian troops there who he said were "doing a good job."

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news

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