Wednesday, February 06, 2008

News reports -- El Salvador to pull most troops from Iraq

Bowing to popular opposition at home may be more important than currying favor with Washington:

SAN SALVADOR, Feb 5 (Reuters) - El Salvador, the only Latin American country which still has troops in Iraq, is prepared topull out most of its 280 soldiers there amid growing opposition at home to the U.S.-led war.

"I believe the time is coming to pull out almost all of our troops," President Tony Saca said on Tuesday. Saca was seeing off the 10th contingent of Salvadoran soldiers to serve in Iraq, but said that the next batch of troops could be reduced to a handful.

"I cannot talk of an 11th contingent," Saca said.

In August, El Salvador cut the size of its six-month contingents to Iraq to 280 soldiers from a previous level of 380.

Saca, who is one of U.S. President George W. Bush's closest allies in Latin America, flew to Washington later on Tuesday. He is scheduled to hold talks with Bush on Thursday.

Polls have show that more than half of Salvadorans are opposed to their country's participation in the war. Five Salvadoran soldiers have been killed in the conflict.

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