Middle East News
Poland marks end of mission in Iraq
Oct 29, 2008, 10:41 GMT
Warsaw - Poland marked the end of its mission in Iraq with a ceremony on Wednesday to welcome the last returning contingent of soldiers in the northwestern city of Szczecin.
Some 100 Polish soldiers landed Tuesday morning at a nearby airport, marking the end of the country's five-year mission.
'There is no good war,' Prime Minister Donald Tusk said at the ceremony. 'War always brings evil, blood, suffering and casualties, but the sacrifices of a soldier for his country has the deepest meaning.'
Tusk said the mission served Poland's defence, and that the soldiers left Iraq safer than it was five years ago. Tusk had promised a quick withdrawal during his election campaign.
Defence Minister Bogdan Klich thanked the soldiers for completing their mission well, and said it was because of them that the army was now 'more modern and better-prepared for new challenges.'
Poland deployed some 2,500 soldiers to Iraq in 2003, but later slowly reduced its contingent to 900. Twenty-two Polish soldiers were killed in Iraq, along with three security personnel and two journalists.