Denmark Plans to Cut Iraq Force

Denmark plans to cut 80 troops from its 530-strong Iraq contingent and offer a C-130 Hercules plane with up to 70 staff for U.N. reconstruction efforts in the country, the government said Friday.

"The Iraqis are so well-trained that we don't need to assign our staff to train them. So we have decided to reorganize the force," Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said.

Several countries had been contacted by the United Nations to provide staff and equipment for reconstruction efforts, Moeller said.

The Hercules plane will be based in Amman, Jordan, with an air force staff of 40.

CountryWatch: Iraq

"Depending on the security around the plane and the personnel, we can send up to 30 more people," Defense Minister Soeren Gade said.

The Danish plane would fly U.N. staff in and out of Iraq, but also could be used to transport medication, goods and aid, he said.

The government will present its plan to lawmakers on May 18. It is expected to pass because Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's center-right government can count on the votes of its ally, the Danish People's Party.

Moeller said reducing the troop level of the Danish contingent in Basra did not mean Denmark was reducing its overall commitment in Iraq.

"Everyone, including the United States and Britain, are adjusting their forces because the Iraqis themselves are able to take over more and more tasks which we have been doing in the past," he said.

Three Danish soldiers have been killed in Iraq, two by roadside bombs and one by friendly fire.