The Supreme Defense Council of Romania - CSAT rejected on Friday Liberal PM Calin Popescu Tariceanu’s initiative to push for a withdrawal of Romanian troops in Iraq. Romania will maintain some 600 troops in the Gulf country, the Council decided. CSAT discussed the issue a day after the Tariceanu's Liberal Party submitted a request in this regard.

The talks today were interrupted half an hour after they started as President Basescu, who heads the CSAT, found the Defense minister had not come with all the necessary documents to support the debate. But they started shortly as minister Teodor Atanasiu returned with the papers.

PM Tariceanu’s party tasked part member Atanasiu yesterday to demand the CSAT to call for the withdrawal of Romanian troops from Iraq. The unexpected request prompted a huge reaction both from President Basescu and other Romanian politicians and from the ambassadors of US and Britain, who considered a prior debate with Romania’s international allies should have occured.

A CSAT decision to call for the withdrawal of troops would have had to be submitted by the President for the final approval of the Parliament. President Basescu insisted yesterday that while the issue of troops withdrawal had to be debated, the way Tariceanu pushed for such a debate was irresponsible.

The Supreme Defense Council includes the President, the prime minister, the ministers of the Interior, Foreign Affairs, Justice Affairs, Industry and Public Finances, as well as the head of the Army, the presidential national security adviser and the heads of the intelligence services.