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Britain Denies Seeking Timetable for Withdrawal from Iraq


British officials are denying a newspaper report that London is urging the United States to set a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq.

A spokesman for the office of Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that what is important is not a timetable but to help Iraq while it determines its own future. He said Britain's troops will remain in Iraq as long as authorities there want them.

He was responding to a report in London's Daily Telegraph newspaper, which quoted an unnamed government source as reporting that the Blair administration hopes to have the United States agree to announce a timetable.

The newspaper report said that setting the timetable would be an indication that U.S.-led coalition troops do not intend to stay in Iraq indefinitely. The report said the announcement would bolster Iraq's interim government and undermine insurgents in that country.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

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