Wed, Dec 24, 2003 - Page 5 News List

S Korean Cabinet poised to request troop deployment


South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun's Cabinet was set to present a motion yesterday on the dispatch of 3,000 troops to Iraq after a phone conversation between Roh and US President George W. Bush.

"Following its Cabinet deliberation today, the motion will be signed by President Roh and sent to the parliament for approval," presidential spokesman Yoon Tae-young said.

The Cabinet meeting followed an 18-minute phone conversation late Monday in which Bush thanked Roh for Seoul's decision to send around 3,000 new troops to Iraq at Washington's request to help rebuild the war-torn state.

Details on the motion were not immediately available, as the defense ministry refused to confirm a news report that South Korea will deploy new troops in Iraq from April 1 through Dec. 31 next year.

South Korea has already stationed some 400 non-combat troops in Iraq.

The government motion must be endorsed by parliament.

Despite months of protests by anti-war activists, South Korean officials expect to win approval from the legislature controlled by the main opposition Grand National Party.

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