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Slovak soldiers will stay in Iraq

SLOVAKIA is not withdrawing its soldiers from Iraq.

"We must not be cowards; on the contrary, we must continue to be members of the international coalition that has decided to wage a victorious war against terrorists," said Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda.

"It is impossible to negotiate with terrorism, or achieve an agreement or a compromise, because that would backfire. I think that it is necessary to show strength, morale, courage, and continue the fight and win it," Dzurinda told the private news agency SITA.

The PM emphasized that the international coalition in Iraq must succeed and ensure that the people of Iraq have their own legitimately elected government on the basis of a newly adopted constitution.

But while the PM defends the Iraq mission, pressure at home is growing in the Slovak parliament to have the Slovak troops withdrawn.

The opposition Slovak Communist Party (KSS) recently demanded that the cabinet and Defence Minister Juraj Liška submit a proposal to parliament to immediately withdraw Slovakia's military engineers from Iraq.

The majority of Slovaks are in favour of withdrawing the troops, a new survey showed.

The opinion poll, carried out by the Slovak weekly magazine Live!, showed that 75 percent of respondents would like to see the troops withdrawn, and the majority of those in favour of the move are supporters of the parliamentary opposition parties.

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