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Iraq:'No foreign troops in 18 months'

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January 31, 2005 10:50 IST
Interim Iraqi interior minister Falah al-Nakib said Sunday that foreign troops in Iraq would not be needed within 18 months, reports Xinhua.

"I think we will not need the foreign forces in this country within 18 months...I think we will be able to depend on ourselves, if everything goes in the right direction," al-Nakib told Britain's Channel 4 television.

"We are building our forces and I think we will need 18 months, it is my estimate, that we will have a quite reasonable sized force, trained, well trained force, well equipped to protect the country," the minister said.

Al-Nakib's comments came after the Iraqi electoral commission claimed a high turnout in Iraq's national election and US President George W Bush congratulated  the Iraqi people on a "great and historical achievement".