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Iraqi President Says US Withdrawal Would be Catastrophic


A published report quotes Iraqi President Jalal Talabani as saying an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq would have "catastrophic consequences" for the region.

In an interview published Tuesday in the French newspaper Le Figaro, President Talabani warned against a withdrawal of U.S.-led coalition forces at this time.

He says coalition forces will only withdraw when Iraqi forces are ready to maintain security on their own.

President Talabani also says civil war can still be avoided in Iraq. He says Iraqi political leaders understand violence is not an option.

Mr. Talabani is scheduled to arrive in Paris on Wednesday for his first official visit to France. He is expected to hold talks with French President Jacques Chirac Thursday.

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

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