France says foreign troops should leave Iraq

7th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Feb 6, 2007 (AFP) - The United States has "failed in Iraq" and should pull out foreign troops in 2008, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said in an interview published Tuesday.


LONDON, Feb 6, 2007 (AFP) - The United States has "failed in Iraq" and should pull out foreign troops in 2008, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said in an interview published Tuesday.

"I am not saying foreign troops must leave tomorrow," De Villepin said in an interview on the website of the Financial Times, Britain's leading business daily.

"I am saying we need to build a schedule that says on what date foreign troops will leave and from that date we start a turnaround, organising a national, regional and international schedule," he told the business daily, speaking in Paris.

"If you do not say that in one year there will be no more American or British troops in Iraq, nothing will happen in Iraq except more deaths and crises," said De Villepin, who opposed the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

"In Iraq ... the diagnosis is cruel. The US have failed in Iraq," he told the FT, adding that the question now was "how do we stop the spiral (of violence)."

A spokesman for the British defence ministry said: "The UK's position has not changed -- we are committed to Iraq for as long as the Iraqi Government judge that the coalition is required to provide security and to assist the Iraqi Security Forces until they are able to take responsibility for their own security and the country is stabilised."

He added that the multi-national forces there were mandated by a UN Security Council resolution. Britain has about 7,100 troops in Iraq, mostly in the south of the country.

De Villepin's comments echoed those of French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, who said earlier on Tuesday that "the only solution" for ending the civil war in Iraq was for foreign forces there to be withdrawn by 2008.

"The only solution ... is that by 2008, there is a withdrawal of foreign forces," Douste-Blazy said in comments aired by French television broadcaster I-Tele.

"In Iraq, there is a civil war today," he said, denouncing the "blindness" of US foreign policy since 2003.

US President George W. Bush, who launched the invasion of Iraq saying it was to eradicate supposed weapons of mass destruction, is facing Senate opposition to his decision to send 21,500 additional US troops to Iraq.

France, which led opposition to the Iraq invasion, has been pushing for a clear timetable for the withdrawal of foreign armed forces while backing moves by the Iraqis to reinforce their security personnel.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, International politics, Iraq, American troops

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