Powell visits Iraq as S.Korea decides not to send forces to Kirkuk
Secretary of State Colin Powell flew into Baghdad on Friday, making an unannounced visit to the occupied country. Powell's stop came as part of his recent trip to parts of Asia and the Middle East. He planned talks with U.S. and Iraqi officials.
Powell's visit comes as South Korea canceled plans to send soldiers to the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, citing U.S. pressure to participate in "offensive operations," but still plans to send the forces to help rebuild the country, the Defense Ministry said Friday, according to The AP.
The ministry said it was looking for another location to dispatch the promised 3,600 troops.
Seoul's dispatch was scheduled to come as early as next month. But Friday's move means the mission might be delayed.
South Korea's Defense Ministry said the "United States cited inevitability for offensive operations to keep security in order in the Kirkuk area," and proposed that a certain number of American soldiers remain in Kirkuk to operate under South Korean control.
South Korean said the U.S. proposal does not jibe with South Korea's intention to "keep its own independent operational command system and conduct peaceful reconstruction." (Albawaba.com)
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