::: Asian Tribune :::
  Date : 21/04/2009 , Tue
A Newspaper Published by World Institute for Asian Studies.
Vol. 06 No. 16   

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Date : 2004-04-21
Thailand to withdraw troops from Iraq if attacked

Bangkok, 20 April, (TNA): Thailand would pull its non-combat troops out of Iraq if they are attacked, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Tuesday.

"We are giving priority to the safety of the soldiers. Once our soldiers are attacked, or being harmed, we will take them back. We are there to help. But if our soldiers are killed, why should we continue to stay?'', he said.

However, the prime minister pointed out that the security situation there had not yet deteriorated to a level that Thailand had to rush to pull back its soldiers.

Prime Minister Thaksin commented on the issue following a motion filed to the Senate, urging the government to withdraw Thai troops from Iraq.

A day earlier, Honduras followed Spain in announcing they would pull their troops out of Iraq.

443 Thai troops were sent to Iraq last year for humanitarian work in the southern city of Karbala, 100 km south of Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Democrat and opposition leader Banyat Bantadthan criticized the government for its indecisive action.

"I want to know when the great loss occurs how the government will explain to the public since it has never heeded to the opposition's demand to withdraw troops from Iraq."

Banyat also warned that the violence in Iraq was worsening, and there were mounting fears that the Thai soldiers might be ambushed, or kidnapped, as it had already happened to citizens of other countries.

"I am afraid that the feared incident may hurt the feelings of Thai people.", he said.

Two Thai soldiers were killed in December, when an explosives-packed car rammed into the wall of their camp in the southern Iraqi city of Karbala.

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