Britain considers more troops in Iraq

/ Source: The Associated Press

Britain is considering sending more troops to Iraq to fill the gap created by Spain’s withdrawal of its 1,300 soldiers, an official in Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government said Saturday.

But Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram told British Broadcasting Corp. radio that no decision had been taken and no formal request has been made.

“That is something which clearly has to be considered given the fact that there is now a changed situation on the ground because of the withdrawal of the Spanish forces,” Ingram said when asked if Britain would send more soldiers to Iraq.

“We are in discussion with our coalition partners in all of this.”

There are about 7,500 British soldiers in southern Iraq. On Tuesday, Blair appeared to rule out sending more, saying Britain had “sufficient troops to do the job.” However, he added that the situation was being reviewed.

Ingram denied that the situation had changed enough in recent days to make Britain reconsider.

“We do believe we have sufficient presence there at this time, but evolving situations require different determinations,” he said.

Also on Saturday, a former British foreign secretary criticized Blair’s policy on Iraq and said the U.S.-led coalition was losing control of the situation there.