Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Britons hail successes in Basra - Middle East Times

British defense officials praised the success of the Iraqi provincial elections and general security improvements during a tour of Basra.

British Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth paid a visit to members of an artillery regiment and military transition teams operating in Basra, the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Ainsworth hailed the work of his troops, saying they helped pave the way to a peaceful election in January that went by with few reports of violence.

"Democracy is flourishing, and people can now go about their daily business," he said.

He added the ability of Iraqi security forces to coordinate operations in the bustling port city, as well as the opportunity for provincial council candidates to campaign openly, was a triumph for British forces.

"I came here a year ago, and Basra was still a troubled place," he said. "It is now a testament to the success of (England's) transition strategy that Iraqis are solving Iraqi problems and Basra is now a secure city."

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