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Pole Resigns Over Iraq Missile Gaffe

October 08, 2003|From Reuters

WARSAW — Poland's defense spokesman resigned Tuesday after triggering a diplomatic row by saying French-made missiles found in Iraq were manufactured in 2003.

"Col. Eugeniusz Mleczak asked Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski to relieve him of his post as press spokesman. That request was accepted," the ministry said in a short statement.

Mleczak said Friday that the missiles were manufactured in 2003, but French President Jacques Chirac said the missiles had been out of production for 15 years.

The Defense Ministry is investigating how the information was issued, and analysts say more people might lose their jobs.

Szmajdzinski apologized to the French, but the Polish opposition and media have been highly critical of the government's handling of the affair.

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