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Danish nationals advised to avoid visits to Iraq except
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Danish nationals advised to avoid visits
to Iraq except Kurdistan 28.6.2007
Copenhagen, Denmark, -- The Danish foreign
ministry Thursday advised Danish nationals to avoid
travelling to Iraq with the exception of Kurdistan
autonomous region of the three Kurdish provinces
Duhok, Erbil and Sulaimaniyah.
Danish nationals should also refrain from
non-essential trips to the three northern provinces,
the advisory said, citing the risk for terrorist
acts and kidnappings.
The advisory was issued as the Danish contingent in
southern Iraq have begun packing equipment and
supplies in preparation of their withdrawal in
A Danish officer in charge of intelligence at the
Danish camp questioned if Iraqi forces were prepared
to take charge of security.
'In my personal opinion, the Iraqi army has come
three fourths of the way,' Torsten Lind Thomsen told
a reporter from news agency Ritzau who visited the
camp near Basra, saying the Iraqi forces needed more
equipment and training.
News of a roadside bomb that killed three British
soldiers in Basra Thursday suggested that security
The conservative chairman of the Danish parliament's
defence committee Tom Behnke was more confident
about the timing of the withdrawal.
'We are withdrawing after an agreement with Iraqi
authorities, parliamentarians and in consultation
with British troops,' he said.
Behnke added that Thomsen's assessments would be
Karsten Nonbo of the ruling Libral Party told Ritzau
that the 'there will be times when we feel that we
pulled out too early.'
The some 400-strong Danish contingent were due to
leave in three stages from August 1 with the last
group leaving on August 18.
Denmark would have some military presence in
southern Iraq since it has agreed to deploy four
helicopters and retain some 50 troops until January
In a related development, the centre-right
government and the Danish People's Party said they
had clinched a deal allowing 15 of 22 Iraqi
interpreters who had helped Danish forces to seek
refuge in Denmark.
'Close' family members would also be allowed to
come. Several interpreters have expressed fears over
their security after the Danish forces leave Iraq.
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