Romania’s new Defense minister Teodor Melescanu paid a short visit to Iraq on Monday - his first act since named in the reshuffled, Liberal-dominated Government in Bucharest last week. He used the occasion to announce that Romania will only withdraw its troops from Iraq after talks are held with its allies there, no matter the stance of the Romanian government.

His statement comes as a step back from the bolder stand previously adopted by PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu, who had said he would do his best to withdraw Romanian troops from Iraq by Christmas this year.

Melescanu and his delegation met the Romanian troops of the 495 Infantry Battalion sent to Talil, Iraq in February this year.

Melescanu will be officially confirmed in office on Tuesday afternoon.