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May 14, 2004 3:00 AM

Powell: U.S. would withdraw troops at request of Iraqi government

Secretary of State Colin Powell, under pressure from European nations to give as much power as possible to an interim Iraqi government, said Friday that the United States would withdraw its troops from Iraq if the new government asked it to do so. Were this interim government to say to us, We really think we can handle this on our own; it would be better if you were to leave, we would leave, he said at a news conference. He was seconded by the foreign ministers of Great Britain, Italy and Japan, which also have contingents in Iraq. But Powell said he believed it was highly unlikely that the new Iraqi government would make such a request.

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