After months of foot-dragging and speculation, the Pakistani Information Minister on Sunday declared that his country "will not send its troops to Iraq at any cost."

Earlier on Tuesday, foreign office spokesman Masood Khan had said that Pakistan was considering the US request but that domestic considerations prevented Islamabad from giving a positive response.

Washington had asked Muslim states like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Turkey to deploy soldiers to ease the burden on US forces faced with growing Iraqi resistance.

Iraq's foreign minister said on Sunday it was looking increasingly unlikely that Turkey would send troops to Iraq after Baghdad voiced its opposition.
   
"This subject is still under study but all the indicators show it may not happen...I think this is positive," Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd appointed by Iraq's U.S.-backed Governing Council,
told Dubai-based Al Arabiya television from London.

"The indicators are encouraging because there is a halt and a review of the matter, especially since the Governing Council unanimously said it does not want troops from neighbouring states to participate in peacekeeping due to sensitivities and
because these countries may have their own agenda," he said.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was quoted on Friday
as saying the United States had asked for a break in talks on
the issue. He gave no reason.

Turkey's parliament agreed to offer troops for one year, but
Erdogan has said he preferred not to send troops if Iraqis did
not want them, although the decision rested with Washington.

Iraqi Kurds in northern Iraq are particularly hostile to
Turkey. The accuse Ankara of trying to stir up ethnic tensions
between them and the Turkmen minority in Iraq and stifle the
Kurds' federal ambitions.