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Poland Sends Peacekeeping Troops to South-Central Iraq

June 07, 2003|From Reuters

WARSAW — Poland sent its first troops to a designated zone in Iraq on Friday where it will lead a multinational peacekeeping force at Washington's request, the Defense Ministry said.

Defense Ministry spokesman Eugeniusz Mleczak said more than 10 countries had pledged troops to the planned 7,500-strong Polish-led force, to be deployed in a strip of southern Iraq that runs between the borders with Iran and Saudi Arabia.

"Our division is effectively complete," Mleczak said, but he declined to name the other countries in the force.

Iraq has been divided into zones under plans to stabilize the oil-rich nation after the U.S.-led war that deposed Saddam Hussein in April.

The United States asked Poland to run the south-central zone in exchange for its staunch backing for the U.S.-led war to topple Hussein. Britain will control another zone, and the United States is to control two others.

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