Defence Secretary John Reid considers this plan appropriate given the situation but along with other UK officials cannot consider a timetable as the country is unstable.
Jalal Talabani, Iraqi President:
"We don't want British forces forever in Iraq. Within one year - I think at the end of 2006 - Iraqi troops will be ready to replace British forces in the south."
In an interview to ITV1, Talabani further commented on his initial statement:
"Well, I haven't been in negotiations, but in my opinion and according to my study of the situation I can say that it is the just estimation of the situation ... There is not one Iraqi that wants that forever the troops remain in the country."
"British people have full right to ask this, their sons coming back home, especially if they have finished their main job, which was the ending of dictatorship,"
The immediate retreat of the 8,000 British troops could lead to a civil war, as insurgents would benefit from UK's move. Talabani said the process should be done by coordination between the UK, US and Iraqi authorities, in order not to affect the fragile order now in place.
John Reid, Defence Secretary:
"We will stay in Iraq until the job is done. That job will be done when the Iraqis themselves are capable of taking their own security into their own hands, and that handover is something that could begin in parts of Iraq in the course of the next year."
"There will be a process ... where they [Iraqi forces] gradually take the lead, we gradually withdraw to barracks and we gradually withdraw from Iraq itself."
General Sir Mike Jackson, head of the British Army:
"What we are trying to achieve are a set of conditions at which point we have the confidence - and more importantly the Iraqi government and Iraqi people have the confidence - that they can fully stand on their own feet and there is no requirement to be supported by the coalition."
"When these conditions come together, then the time will be right. The president (Talabani) has said we could leave within a year, and I would agree we certainly could, but it is a question of achieving the right conditions."
Iraqi Vice-President, Adel Abdul Mahdi, spoke to an Arab community near Detroit, Michigan:
" I've discussed the pullout possibility with [US Defence] Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld and we agree on the future course. We are optimistic about the build-up of Iraqi forces to cope with the situation.
"We have been preparing ourselves, politically, for a pullout of troops. We have a solid political situation and we don't want to have a security vacuum of any kind."
George Bush and Tony Blair administrations have refused several times to set a timetable for the retreat of their troops.
Concerning the insurgents possible attempt at sabotaging the National Assembly elections held on Dec. 15, Talabani comments:
"I think they will fail, because the Iraqi people are now determined to participate in election."
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