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IN SHORT

Kašický explains planned pullout from Iraq

NEW Slovak Defence Minister František Kašický met US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's deputy Dan Fried in the Croatian resort of Dubrovnik on July 10.

The meeting was initiated by the Americans, and the topic of discussion was the new Slovak government's intention of withdrawing Slovak troops from Iraq, SME wrote.

Minister Kašický assured the American side that prior to any withdrawal Slovakia's allies and all interested parties would be properly consulted with in advance.

According to Kašický, the Americans reacted positively to his comments.

Before last month's general election, Smer party leader Robert Fico, who is now the new Prime Minister, said that one of the first steps of a future government led by Smer would be the withdrawal of Slovak soldiers from Iraq.

Currently there are 110 Slovak troops in Iraq, most of whom are engaged in clearing landmines.

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