Britain’s Brown vows to be in step with U.S. on Iraq

first_imgBy David Stringer THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LONDON – Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged Tuesday to keep Britain’s Iraq policy in line with that of the United States, seeking to allay fears the country’s move out of the southern city of Basra marked the start of a major withdrawal. Brown told a news conference that a decision on a potential future British troop cut would be taken only in consultation with the United States and other allies. Some U.S. officials have criticized Britain’s decision to leave Iraq’s second largest city, raising worries about the security of supply routes to Baghdad and London’s long-term commitment to the war. “We are on exactly the same path that I have set out, which is that we will continue to discharge our obligations to the Iraqi people, that we support their democracy,” Brown told reporters at his Downing Street office when asked if he remained in step with President Bush. Bush told reporters Monday night that if security in Iraq continues to improve, the United States may be able to carry out its duties with fewer troops. But Brown refused to say whether Britain will cut its 5,500 troops when it hands security responsibilities for Basra to Iraqi forces in the autumn – the remaining province over which Britain has responsibility. “We will have to make a further decision when the time is right,” Brown said. The International Crisis Group, a Brussels, Belgium-based think-tank, said in June that Basra had become destabilized by warring militias and that locals believed British forces had been beaten into retreat. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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