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UPDATED: 07:55, May 19, 2006
Italian new PM promises to withdraw troops from Iraq
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Italy's new Prime Minister Romano Prodi said on Thursday that he would propose to parliament the withdrawal of the remaining Italian troops from Iraq.

In his first address to the Senate as prime minister, Prodi described the war in Iraq as "a grave error", saying, "It has not resolved, but (has) complicated the situation of security."

He expressed an intention to stick to an election pledge to propose to parliament "the return of our troops from Iraq".

Currently Italy has about 2,600 soldiers in Iraq who are helping with the reconstruction of the country, a reduction from the initial 3,000 troops dispatched by former conservative Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Prodi did not give a specific date for a withdrawal, saying a "technical timeframe" would have to be agreed with all sides involved.

The prime minister also pledged to help Europe become "a strong and united presence on the international stage", yet he also stressed that he would work to "consolidate and enrich the historic alliance with the United States."

Source: Xinhua

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