In view of the full court press being applied by the US Administration with respect to Mark Latham’s promise to pull Australian troops out of Iraq by Christmas, it’s interesting to note that the Dutch government is not subject to similar pressure to “stay the course”, even though it has just announced a pullout date of March 15, 2005, less than 90 days after Latham’s. This is an extension of a previous commitment that expires on June 30, but the government, part of the Coalition of the Willing, sounds more like Latham than Howard.
Dutch troops will leave Iraq in March 2005 as the Dutch government will not renew their mandate after an eight-month extension, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said Friday.
“We are linking our stay to the formation of a new government in Iraq,” Mr. Balkenende told a news conference. “Eight months and that’s that …In extraordinary circumstances the mandate could be extended for another 10 days or so after March 15, but in principle the troops will leave on that date”