News

Bush, Berlusconi Discuss Italian Troop Withdrawal from Iraq

President Bush says Italy's decision to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq is not a blow to the international coalition supporting the formation of a new government in Baghdad. Italy is the latest member of that coalition to announce plans to start bringing soldiers home.

President Bush says he understands why coalition partners are anxious to leave Iraq, but he is encouraging allies to stay the course until the country can better defend itself.

"People want their troops home. But they don't want their troops home if it affects the mission. We've made a lot of progress," the president said.

President Bush telephoned Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi Wednesday, a day after the prime minister announced plans to start withdrawing 3,000 Italian troops from Iraq in September if security forces there can take more charge of their own security.

The prime minister has been one of the president's biggest European allies in Iraq but is under increasing pressure at home following the shooting of an Italian intelligence officer by U.S. troops.

President Bush says Prime Minister Berlusconi assured him that the decision to begin planning an exit strategy does not change Italy's commitment to Iraq's future.

"He said first of all he wanted me to know that there was no change in his policy, that in fact any withdrawals would be done in consultation with allies and would be done depending upon the ability of Iraqis to defend themselves," Mr. Bush said.

Asked if Italy's decision means the coalition is crumbling, President Bush said that, on the contrary, he believes coalition members are pleased and heartened by the Iraqi vote as they see progress being made toward a new government.

Mr. Bush says he shares what he calls that sense of enthusiasm about what is taking place in Iraq, calling the seating of a new assembly in Baghdad a bright moment in the country's history.

The president says Iraq's new army is making progress on officer training and establishing chains of command from civilian to military commanders.

Fourteen nations have withdrawn from the coalition since the U.S.-led invasion two years ago. Italy is the fourth largest contributor of troops behind the United States, Britain, and South Korea.

Dutch troops cede control to British forces in a formal ceremony, as Dutch mission in Iraq came to an end March 7, 2005
One-hundred-and-sixty Dutch troops returned home this week as part of a phased withdrawal. Ukraine and Poland are also gradually reducing their troop levels in Iraq.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons that there is no deadline for British or Italian troops to leave Iraq before the new government there can defend itself.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs