ID :
Fri, 09/19/2008 - 20:29
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Seoul confirms withdrawal of troops from Iraq by year-end

SEOUL, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will pull out all its troops from Iraq by the end of the year, the Defense Ministry said Friday, dismissing recent reports that Seoul's new conservative government may request the legislature to approve another one-year extension in its efforts to improve ties with the United States.

"The one-year extension of the Zaytun unit deployment in Iraq passed the National Assembly in December under the condition that the unit will be withdrawn by December this year," ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae told a press briefing.

"The troops will be pulled out as scheduled," he added. Other ministry officials later said the government currently has no plans to ask for another extension, also noting there has been no such requests by the country's allies in Iraq.

The withdrawal of the Zaytun unit will end its four-year deployment in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, where it has helped build schools, town halls and a number of other public buildings, while also providing free medical service to over 87,000 residents there.

The unit began its deployment with some 3,600 troops, though that level has now been reduced to some 520, according to ministry officials.

Zaytun unit's pullout will also lead to the pullout of the country's 130-member air support unit, Daiman, in Kuwait, they said.