Blair will also tell the House of Commons during his regular weekly appearance before it that a total of about 3,000 British soldiers will have left southern Iraq by the end of 2007, if the security there is sufficient, the British Broadcasting Corp. and The Sun newspaper said, quoting government officials who weren’t further identified.
The BBC said Blair was not expected to say when the rest of Britain’s forces would leave Iraq. Currently, Britain has about 7,100 soldiers there.
John Kerry issued the following statement today, in response to Blair’s expected announcement that he would be withdrawing British troops on a fixed timetable, including the redeployment of 1,500 soldiers in the coming weeks and 3,000 troops home by Christmas:
“America’s leading ally in Iraq has decided that a timetable for the phased redeployment of troops is the only responsible policy to help force Iraqis to stand up for Iraq,” said Kerry. “After years of touting Prime Minister Blair’s resolve, the Administration should now pay attention to his new policy. This announcement makes it all the more inexplicable that the President and leading Republicans actually want to send more American troops into the middle of an Iraqi civil war.”
Blair's announcement comes on the heels of Bush's push to escalate the Iraq war with "an increase of 21,000 more troops for Iraq." As Bush's plan to escalate the war, "some of the other coalition partners are pulling out: The Italians and Slovaks have left, and the Danes and the South Koreans want to start withdrawing."
NBC reported that Blair and President Bush spoke about the timetable on Tuesday morning.
The Guardian UK calls the plan, "the British endgame."