» Monday, June 19, 2006


The PMOS welcomed the announcement today by Prime Minister Maliki that the Iraqis were taking over full control of Al Muthanna province, as pre-figured during our visit to Baghdad. That meant that they would take control of civil institutions, as well as security responsibilities. It did not mean, however, that the Australian, Japanese and the small number of British troops there would pull out tomorrow, but it did mean that there was a gradual transition, with the Iraqis taking control. The PMOS said that the Iraqi security forces were already in control of many day to day operations there, and we were there increasingly in a support role, and the transition would begin to take place. It was a significant step on the way to Iraq taking control of its own destiny, and therefore, we welcomed that.

Asked if there was a deadline, such as the end of July, when the foreign forces would pull out, and also, did it follow that the British troops would be redeployed, the PMOS replied that in terms of setting the timetable, that was for the Iraqis, first and foremost. We would respond to that. In terms of the deployment of troops, that was a matter for the commanders on the ground. The PMOS said that having had the announcement today, obviously there would be discussions between the multinational forceand the Iraqis about timeframes. Following that, operational commanders would make decisions.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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