Britain confirmed that it will withdraw some troops from Gibraltar but denied it is abandoning the strategic area. Defense Secretary George Younger said the move is part of a cost-cutting drive and that the troops are needed elsewhere. He said Britain's commitment to the colony is "absolute and very clear. As long as the people of Gibraltar wish it, they will remain under the British flag." Government sources said that about 650 soldiers will be pulled out over two years' time. The garrison currently has about 1,700 troops.