Aussie PM: Troops Not Leaving Iraq

Bush may be talking withdrawal, but Howard stands pat
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2007 1:25 PM CDT
A demonstrator holds a sign denouncing U.S. President George Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard during a small anti-Iraq war protest, Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2007. Some 200 people...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – President Bush arrived in Sydney last night amid speculation he would reduce troop levels in Iraq, but his Australian counterpart dismissed any notion that his country would be withdrawing its forces. Prime Minister John Howard said the idea that Sydney could both pull its 550 troops and still make a significant contribution “begins to stretch credulity.”

No official decision on American troops will be made before September 15, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, when the heavily anticipated surge report premieres—analysts are already predicting it will be upbeat. The President and Condoleezza Rice are Down Under, after a jaunt to Baghdad, to attend an Asian economic forum.