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UK troops to leave Iraq 'by July'

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UK troops to leave Iraq 'by July'

Post by shammy on Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:10 pm

Gordon Brown and Iraqi prime minister Nouri Maliki say UK forces will have "completed their tasks" in the first half of 2009 and will then leave.

The two leaders' joint statement came as they held talks in Baghdad.

They also said the partnership between the two countries would continue. It is Mr Brown's fourth trip to Iraq as PM.

The visit by Mr Brown, who is travelling with Chief of the Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, was not announced in advance.

'New era'

In their statement, Mr Brown and Mr Maliki said: "The role played by the UK combat forces is drawing to a close.

"These forces will have completed their tasks in the first half of 2009 and will then leave Iraq."

They added: "The partnership between the two countries will continue to take on new dimensions and will be strengthened through cooperation in all areas due to the prominent position of the UK within the EU and the United Nations Security Council.

"This relationship of cooperation and friendship between Iraq and the UK is entering a new era and will yield continuing cooperation that will last for many years to come."

There are currently about 4,100 UK troops serving in Basra, southern Iraq.


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