IN SHORT

Iraq troop withdrawal schedule ready

SLOVAK soldiers will leave Iraq as stipulated in the government's programme statement, said Defence Minister František Kašický during his visit to Košice on August 11. The troop pullout schedule, including a detailed plan, is now ready, the minister added.

Kašický said that the plan first needs to be discussed at home and thereafter with foreign partners. The minister did not specify, however, when the Slovak soldiers would return.

The Slovak troop presence in Afghanistan is related to the Iraqi withdrawal. According to the defence minister, there are three options regarding Slovakia's aid to Afghanistan: no change, sending two helicopters, or bolstering Slovakia's participation in the Afghanistan mission with more soldiers sent to cooperate with Hungarian troops on reconstruction works.

The minister has already talked with the Hungarian deputy defence minister regarding the third alternative, but no official talks with the Hungarian defence minister have yet been launched.

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