Poland's defense minister has announced plans to cut his country's forces in Iraq by almost one third next year.

Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski said the number of Polish troops remaining in Iraq in mid-February will stand at 1,700.  He said another 700 will remain in Poland on standby in case of emergency.  The withdrawal is to follow Iraq's parliamentary elections.

Poland has about 2,400 soldiers in Iraq.  It is the third largest contributor of troops to the international stabilization forces in that country, after the United States and Britain.  Poland commands a 6,500-strong international force south of Baghdad.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters and AFP.