August 8, 2008 / 1:45 AM / 11 years ago

El Salvador to cut small troop presence in Iraq

SAN SALVADOR, Aug 7 (Reuters) - El Salvador, the only Latin American country with troops in Iraq, said on Thursday it is reducing the size of its small force there because the country was beginning to stabilize.

"It is a logical and orderly withdrawal of Salvadoran troops from Iraq," said Col. Hugo Angulo, a spokesman for the defense ministry.

Angulo said the recent fall in violence in Iraq, which has come as Iraqi forces have increasingly taken the lead in major security operations, makes El Salvador’s presence less necessary.

El Salvador will deploy 200 soldiers to Iraq in the coming days to replace the country’s current force of 280 troops that distribute humanitarian supplies and coordinate small reconstruction projects, Angulo said.

Polls have shown that most Salvadorans are opposed to their country’s participation in the war. El Salvador’s President Tony Saca has said the country could pull out most of its troops there. (Reporting by Raul Gutierrez, editing by Jackie Frank)

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