ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan's information minister said his country has no plans to send troops to Iraq (search) under the present circumstances, but added that no final decision has been made.
Pakistan (search) has long said it would consider sending troops under a United Nations banner and after a request by Iraq's government, but has consistently remained vague on the timing.
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the time was still not right, especially as other nations are withdrawing from the region.
"Pakistan will not send its troops to Iraq in the present situation," he said.
Senior Pakistani government officials have acknowledged that Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain met with senior Saudi officials last month during his visit to Riyadh to discuss the creation of a possible Muslim peacekeeping force.
A Pakistani diplomat, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi (search), has been named as the special envoy to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and will be in charge of peacekeeping efforts in Baghdad.
Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in the war on terror, but has been less supportive of the Iraq war. Three Pakistanis have been kidnapped in Iraq, and two of them were killed by their captors. The other was released.