Romania prepares to pull out troops from Iraq

By Xinhua

Bucharest : Romania is preparing the pullout of its troops from Iraq, after the NATO April summit in Bucharest, Romania’s Caretaker Defense Minister Teodor Melescanu said on Friday in Iasi, eastern Romania.

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Attending the ceremonies occasioned by the departure of 400 troops of battalion 151 Razboieni – Black Wolves, to a new mission to Iraq, Melescanu said Romania will discuss with its partners in NATO the schedule for a gradual pullout of its troops from Iraq.

Melescanu said that will happen at the end of this year or the beginning of next year, when the first elements will set its schedule for the pullout.

Melescanu said that after the pullout, Romania will continue to give advice to the Iraqi troops. The battalion which left on Friday will be among the last sent to a peace-keeping mission to Iraq, Melescanu said.

From February though August, 400 troops of the Black Wolves battalion will guard several civil objectives in Iraq, as part of Iraq’s reconstruction program.

Romania has 1,612 soldiers deployed abroad, with about 600 in Iraq and the rest in Afghanistan and Kosovo.