May 5, 2006

Danish troops to stay in Iraq another year: source

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark will keep its 500 troops in
Iraq for another 12 months, a government source told Reuters on

The mandate for Danish troops to remain in Iraq runs out on
July 1. The centre-right government had no plan at present to
reduce the number of troops, who are all stationed near Basra
in the south of Iraq, the source said.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said that Denmark
would stay in Iraq as part of a multi-national force as long as
the Iraqi government wanted it.

However, a recent report on Denmark's TV2 news said the
government would bring home up to 100 of its troops in the
second half of this year.

Denmark has been part of the U.S.-led multi-national
security force in Iraq since the end of the 2003 war.

Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller and Defense Minister Soren
Gade were due to hold a press conference on the future of
Danish troops in Iraq on Friday.

Three Danish troops have died in Iraq since 2003 and the
country's image has been tarnished across the Muslim world by
the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a Danish

The publication of the cartoons in daily Jyllands-Posten
led to violent demonstrations from Morocco to Malaysia, while
Denmark was forced to temporarily close embassies in some
Muslim countries.