World wants foreign troops out of Iraq: BBC poll

LONDON Thu Sep 6, 2007 7:07pm EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - More than two thirds of people around the world think American-led forces should pull out of Iraq within a year, according to a poll published on Friday by the BBC's international service.

The BBC World Service poll, which questioned 23,000 people in 22 countries, also found that only a quarter of respondents thought foreign troops should stay in Iraq until the security situation improves.

Almost two thirds (61 percent) of Americans who were asked said they thought their forces should leave Iraq within a year, with 24 percent saying they should get out immediately.

Only around a third of Americans say forces should stay until security improves, according to the poll conducted by pollsters GlobeScan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland between May 29 and July 26. The United States has around 160,000 soldiers in Iraq.

Other members of the U.S.-led coalition also had majorities wanting forces out within a year -- 65 percent of Britons, 63 percent of South Koreans and 63 percent of Australians.

U.S. President George W. Bush visited Iraq on Monday and has this week raised the possibility of reducing American troop numbers if security conditions improve.

Britain has reduced its troop numbers to around 5,000 and says its forces will remain in Iraq as long as they are needed.

But GlobeScan president Doug Miller said the poll showed most people would favor a timetable for withdrawal.

"The weight of global public opinion, and indeed American opinion, is opposed to the Bush administration's current policy of letting security conditions in Iraq dictate the timing of U.S. troop withdrawal," he said in a statement.

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