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Hungary to Withdraw Troops from Iraq by End of March

Hungary says it will withdraw its 300 troops from Iraq by the end of March, 2005.

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said the Hungarian contingent will stay until elections are held in Iraq. He said it was not possible, however, for the troops to remain in the war-torn country past the March pull-out date. His comments came at a ceremony in Budapest marking the end of the military draft in Hungary.

Polls show most Hungarians oppose the troop presence in Iraq.

The current mandate of the Hungarian units in Iraq expires at the end of the year. But Hungarian officials expressed confidence lawmakers will extend the term for three months.

In an interview last month, Mr. Gyurcsany said Hungary would wait until after the U.S. presidential election to make a decision on whether to keep the troops in Iraq.

Some of this information provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.