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IRAQ WAR -
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Norwegian troops to quit Iraq, Bush told

Posted in the database on Friday, September 16th, 2005 @ 16:54:04 MST (852 views)
from HindustanTimes.com  

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Norway's incoming Prime Minister has told US President George W Bush that he will order Norwegian troops to leave Iraq as soon as he takes office, the NTB news agency reported.

Labour Party leader Jens Stoltenberg, who will take up the post in mid-October as the head of a coalition of three left-wing parties, told the US president "the Norwegian officers should not remain in Iraq," NTB quoted the Labour leader on Thursday.

As Stoltenberg has not officially taken office, he is unable technically to announce a troop withdrawal.

But he reportedly made his intentions clear during a telephone conversation with Bush who called to congratulate him on Monday's election victory.

The Labour Party and its Socialist Left and the Centre Party allies won 87 of 169 seats in the poll, defeating the sitting centre-right coalition led by Kjell Magne Bondevik.

The socialists, who are involved in intense negotiations over a common platform for government, made it clear during the election campaign that one of their priorities would be to break with the American-led coalition forces in Iraq as the country lurches towards civil war.

About ten officers are posted with coalition forces while a similar number are on assignment with Northern Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) teams training Iraqi security forces.

But Stoltenberg indicated that the three socialist parties, which initially demanded Norway's military to cease operations in Afghanistan, now agreed to maintain troops, NTB said.



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