Gašparovič opposes sudden withdrawal from Iraq

SLOVAK President Ivan Gašparovič said he would not support an immediate withdrawal of the country's military engineering unit from Iraq.

The president was speaking to journalists following a visit to the Defence Ministry and Armed Forces General Staff, the news wire TASR wrote.

Two weeks ago to the day, three Slovaks were killed in a mortar attack in Iraq, becoming the first casualties of Slovakia's 100-strong mine-clearing unit.

"I don't believe we should be in Iraq one day and leave the next," the president said.

However, he welcomed the efforts of politicians who are calling for a debate on Slovakia's contribution to the coalition force in Iraq.

Defence Minister Juraj Liska confirmed that his ministry had no plans to withdraw the military unit from Iraq.

Speaking generally about Slovakia's military deployments in international peacekeeping missions, the president stressed the importance of improving preparation.

"We should be sending well-prepared units abroad, not just builders with spades and pickaxes," he said.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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