Blair: British Troops Could Leave Iraq in 2006

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British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a carefully qualified statement about when his country's troops might withdraw from Iraq. Monday he told reporters that some British troops could leave in 2006. Blair made the cautious statement after Iraq's president offered a much more definite timetable.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Here's an update on two stories we're following this morning. First, Britain's prime minister made a carefully qualified statement about when his country's troops might withdraw from Iraq. Tony Blair told reporters that some British troops could leave in 2006.

Prime Minister TONY BLAIR (Great Britain): It's entirely reasonable to talk about the possibility of withdrawal of troops next year, but it's got to be always conditioned by the fact that we withdraw when the job is done.

INSKEEP: Blair made that cautious statement after Iraq's president offered a much more definite timetable. Jalal Talabani said he doesn't want Britain in his country forever and Iraqis should be able to take over the British zone within a year.

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