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Blair Links British Troop Withdrawal to Readiness of Iraqi Forces

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has told British troops in Iraq they could return home once Iraqi forces are able to manage their own security.

Mr. Blair spoke Thursday in Basra, during an unannounced trip to British-controlled southern Iraq. There, he told British soldiers they are helping to secure the country and the world against terrorism. He did not give a specific timetable for a British withdrawal.

Earlier, Mr. Blair met with U.S. and British military officials to discuss the security situation in Iraq after last week's legislative election.

Poland's Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz also made an unannounced appearance in Iraq today, to bring Christmas wishes to 1,400 Polish troops stationed in that country. Romanian President Traian Basescu visited the country on Wednesday.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.