Denmark parliament to discuss presence of soldiers in Iraq

Denmark parliament to discuss presence of soldiers in Iraq
Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod in parliament. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix
Increasing tensions in the Middle East region are to be discussed by the Danish parliament’s foreign policy committee, following the US drone strike that killed Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.

The government and parliament will overview the situation in the extraordinary meeting, Ritzau reports.

Prior to the meeting, calls are growing for Denmark to withdraw its troops from the coalition currently operating in Iraq.

“A clear distance should be taken from the United States and it is time to bring the soldiers home from Iraq. There are such big problems with their presence and its legitimacy is now also hanging by a thin thread,” said Eva Flyvholm, foreign affairs spokesperson with the left-wing Red Green Alliance party.

Iraq’s parliament has asked the country’s government to ask the US-led coalition, which includes Danish troops, to leave Iraq.

Around 130 Danish military personnel are based at Ain Al-Asad, one of the two airbases targeted on Tuesday by Iran in retaliation for Soleimani’s killing. The Danish personnel were not harmed in the attack.

Denmark should comply with the wishes of the Iraqi government if it asks for coalition forces to leave the country, according to another party, the Socialist People’s Party (SF), a parliamentary ally to the minority Social Democrat government.

“We are in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government. If the Iraqi government doesn’t think we should be there, then we shouldn’t be there,” SF foreign affairs spokesperson Karsten Hønge told media Arbejderen.

Michael Aastrup Jensen, foreign policy spokesperson with the Liberals, the largest party in opposition, said that Danish personnel should remain in Iraq for the time being.

“We should not forget that there are around 15,000 Islamic State [terror group Isis, ed.] fighters still in the area and it is very important that we defeat them because if we don’t, there’s a chance they could regain power,” Jensen said.

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said prior to the meeting that Danish soldiers should remain in Iraq until the task of defeating Isis has been completed.

Around 130 Danish soldiers are serving within the coalition, with a further 10 officers working with Nato in Baghdad.

READ ALSO: No re-opening of Iraq war commission: Danish government


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