Dutch want troops out of Iraq
9 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — A majority of the Dutch public believe the country’s military contribution to the US-led coalition cannot stay in Iraq “in the present circumstances”, according to a new opinion poll.
Some 59 percent of respondents in the survey carried out by polling organisation Interview/NSS for current affairs television programme Nova said the 1,300 Dutch marines based in southern Iraq should be withdrawn.
An equal percentage said that the Dutch troops could stay if the United Nations took over control of the peacekeeping mission.
By Thursday morning, it was estimated 50 US and coalition military personnel and 450 Iraqis had died in the bloodiest nine-day period since the invasion and the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime a year ago.
The Dutch marines are based in the thinly-populated province of Al Muthanna and have so far not been involved in the bloody fighting with Sunni and Shia militants that erupted earlier this week.
If the Dutch troops were attacked, 67 percent of people questioned for the poll said the marines should be withdrawn immediately, news agency ANP reported.
Supporters of main opposition party Labour PvdA are keenest on getting the troops out, with 70 percent of its supporters wanting a withdrawal.
Supporters of the two main centre-right government parties, Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD, are evenly split. About 50 percent of voters for each party want the troops to stay and the other half want them to leave.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news + Iraq