Poland former PM opposes pullout from Iraq

Dec. 19, 2007 at 7:56 PM

WARSAW, Poland, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Poland's former prime minister characterized a new Cabinet's decision to withdraw troops from Iraq by October as a mistake.

Polish former Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chairman of the conservative nationalist Law and Justice party which lost parliamentary elections in October, in an interview with Polish Radio Wednesday said soldiers from other countries plan to pull out from Iraq at a later date and Poland should join those states.

Kaczynski wants the stay of the Polish contingent in Iraq be extended beyond 2008.

On Tuesday, the liberal, pro-EU government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk decided Poland's 900 soldiers serving as part of a U.S.-led force will stay in Iraq until Oct. 31. A motion on the pullout decision was submitted to Polish President Lech Kaczynski, twin brother of the former prime minister.

Jaroslaw said Tusk wanted to provoke a conflict with his brother Lech, whose presidential tenure expires in 2010.

Poland sent its contingent to Iraq in 2003 to support the U.S.-led military campaign.

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