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British General Says British Troops Could Withdraw from Iraq by Mid-2008


A British newspaper quotes Britain's top military commander in Baghdad as saying the first pull-out of British troops from Iraq could begin in a matter of months, with a final withdrawal by mid-2008.

The Daily Telegraph quotes General Nick Houghton as saying a withdrawal plan is under consideration.

The Telegraph Tuesday quotes General Houghton as saying a pull-out over two years would prevent Britain's 8,000 troops from "overstaying our welcome", while allowing time for Iraqi security forces to consolidate.

Britain's Defense Ministry says the general's plan depends on conditions in Iraq. And the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace Sunday flatly denied recent media reports of a scheduled withdrawal of American and British forces.

British and U.S. officials have repeatedly stressed that coalition commanders would assess conditions on the ground and adjust troop levels as necessary.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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