Withdraw Italian troops from Iraq if elected: Prodi

Centre-left candidate for premier Romano Prodi said that he would pull Italian troops out from Iraq.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 05:21 IST

Centre-left candidate for Prime Minister Romano Prodi said that he would pull Italian troops out from Iraq "as soon as possible" if his coalition wins general elections this month.

"When we go to the government we'll decide for a speedy pullout of the troops, in secure conditions, talking with the Iraqi authorities," said Prodi, adding that this would be done "as soon as possible." The comments were made during the last TV debate before the April 9-10 elections.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi, defying strong domestic opposition, supported the US-led invasion of Iraq and sent some 3,000 troops there after the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003 to help rebuild the country. The contingent now numbers around 2,600 men after units started pulling out in groups of 300 last year.

Berlusconi's government has pledged to withdraw the troops by the end of 2006, replacing it with a civilian force. The government stressed the pullout is being conducted in agreement with allies and Iraqi authorities.

First Published: Apr 04, 2006 05:21 IST