Philippines may pullout forces from Iraq as Russia announces evacuation of citizens
Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Wednesday that mounting violence in Iraq had prompted her government to examine whether to withdraw its 100 troops from Iraq.
"The decision on whether or not to withdraw our peacekeeping forces will depend on the security situation in Iraq in the days to come," said Arroyo.
The Philippine contingent of military and civilian personnel in central Iraq has suffered no fatalities.
Military spokesman Col. Daniel Lucero said the deployment has been open-ended with no date set for withdrawal.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with the international community in this commitment and that is why we are not making any rush decisions," Arroyo said in a statement.
She added while the government remains committed to helping rebuild the Mid-East nation, "the safety of our peacekeeping forces in Iraq is still our utmost concern."
In the meantime, Russia plans to dispatch airplanes to evacuate over 800 of its nationals and citizens of former Soviet states from Iraq.
The special evacuation will begin on Thursday and continue on Friday, Victor Blatsov, spokesmen for the Russian emergencies ministry said Wednesday, cited by Interfax.
"Seven flights will be made from Kuwait and Baghdad to fly out 553 Russians and 263 citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States working in Iraq," the ministry spokesman said. (Albawaba.com)
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