updated 1/13/2007 9:23:42 PM ET 2007-01-14T02:23:42

A British newspaper reported Sunday that Prince Harry was scheduled to begin final training for deployment to Iraq with his army regiment, but the Defense Ministry said no decision had been made on whether he would be deployed.

The News of the World said the 22-year-old prince, who is third in line to the throne, would take part in a two-day pre-deployment course which includes instruction in basic Arabic phrases.

Harry, known as “Cornet Wales” by his Blues and Royals regiment, has trained to command 11 soldiers and four Scimitar tanks.

A Defense Ministry spokesman said the Blues and Royals were among a number of regiments being considered for deployment to Iraq in April.

“Even if the regiment is selected, it is not the case that the entire regiment would be deployed. If his unit was selected, it would be down to the unit commander to determine whether it would be appropriate for Harry to go,” the spokesman said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity in line with policy.

The Defense Ministry has previously said Harry could go to Iraq if his unit was deployed, but he might be kept out of situations where his presence would jeopardize his comrades.

Prince William, currently training as a troop leader within the Blues and Royals, cannot be deployed to war zones because he is second in line to the British crown.

Britain has 7,000 troops based in southern Iraq, but plans to reduce its numbers in 2007. Treasury Chief Gordon Brown, who is expected to succeed Tony Blair as prime minister, said last Sunday that several thousand soldiers would withdraw by the end of the year.

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