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Dutch minister criticises US troop plan for Iraq

By Staff
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Google Oneindia News

AMSTERDAM, Jan 12 (Reuters) Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot today criticised the US President George W Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq, saying he doubted it would yield results.

Bush announced on Wednesday he intended to send 21,500 more US troops to join the 130,000 already in Iraq, a plan opposed by leaders of the new Democratic-controlled Congress.

''Just sending another 20,000-odd soldiers to Iraq is something we have been doing for years. It hasn't changed anything,'' Bot said after the government's weekly cabinet meeting, according to Dutch news agency ANP.

He added he would liked to have seen more of the recommendations of a key bipartisan study group led by former US Secretary of State James Baker in Bush's speech.

Baker's report called for a pullback of most combat forces by 2008 and recommended working with Iran and Syria to help stabilise Iraq.

Bot said it was essential to work with Syria as many insurgents were crossing into Iraq over the Syrian border.

The Dutch centre-right government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende supported the US-led invasion of Iraq and sent troops to the country in 2003. It withdrew them in 2005 as violence escalated and Dutch public support waned.

REUTERS BDP BD2156

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