Cartoon uproar Denmark's 'biggest crises since war'

The uproar over the Prophet Mohammed cartoons was Denmark’s biggest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War, the prime minister said today.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it would take time to defuse the crisis, which he called “a very considerable task.”

“We don’t see the solution around the corner,” he told reporters after briefing politicians on the conflict. “We find ourselves in the biggest foreign policy challenge Denmark has faced since World War II.”

Fogh Rasmussen reiterated comments by the defence minister earlier today that Denmark would not withdraw its 530-member contingent from Iraq as demanded by the provincial council of the southern city of Basra.

“I would like to underline that Denmark is in Iraq and we’re doing a task in Iraq as long as we have been requested to do it,” he said. “It is the Iraqi government that is responsible for decisions about the presence of troops from abroad.”

Basra’s provincial council today demanded the withdrawal of Denmark’s contingent from southern Iraq unless the Danish government apologises for the publication of the Mohammed caricatures in a Danish newspaper.

The Danish government has earlier said it cannot apologise for the actions of an independent newspaper.

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