Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wire: UK to Pull Troops From Iraq by Month's End

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2009 -- Newswire services today reported that Britain will withdraw its remaining forces from Iraq to Kuwait by the end of the month because the Iraqi parliament failed to pass a deal allowing them to stay to protect oil platforms and provide training, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Britain already has withdrawn its combat forces according to a previous agreement. The Associated Press reported that the British Ministry of Defense said the new announcement related to between 100 and 150 mostly navy personnel left to train the Iraqi navy. U.S. troops would be standing in for the British while they were out of the country, according to the ministry.

An agreement reached with the Iraqi government would have let some British troops stay in Iraq to train after most had left their bases around the southern city of Basra.

AP said the lingering presence has faced opposition, principally by followers of anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr who stalled the ratification of the deal until lawmakers adjourned Monday for their summer recess.

British Embassy spokesman Jawwad Syed said Tuesday it's a procedural delay and that the remaining British forces will pull back to Kuwait until the issue is resolved. The troops' existing mandate expires on July 31.

(Report from newswire sources.)

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