Britain ends combat operations in Iraq

Britain and Iraq have begun a "long-term partnership of equals", Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared today as the end of UK combat operations there was announced.





After talks in Downing Street with Iraqi counterpart Nouri al-Maliki, Mr Brown said: "Today we are taking steps to strengthen and deepen our relationship and to make it a long-term partnership of equals.



"Today marks the closing chapter of the combat mission in Iraq. The flag of 20 Armoured Brigade will be lowered as British combat patrols in Basra come to an end and our armed forces prepare to draw down."







Mr Brown paid tribute to the British service men and women who had lost their lives in Iraq.

"They will always be remembered for the service they have given. Our country owes them a huge debt of gratitude," he said.



He said that the memorial in Basra honouring their memory would be "preserved for ever" at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire.



"Today Iraq is a success story. We owe much of that to the efforts of British troops. Our mission has not always been an easy one, many have said that we would fail," he said.



"Britain can be proud of our legacy that we leave there."









Mr Maliki said his country needed investment from Britain and co-operation across many fronts, including science, the economy and business.

Mr Brown said: "We hope to sign an agreement with the Iraqi government about the future role that we can play in training and in protecting the oil supplies of Iraq.



"That will be an agreement between our two countries, rather than any new United Nations resolution.



"I gather this will go to the Iraqi parliament within the next few days and this is part of a new, deeper relationship between our two countries."







Mr Brown said he and Mr Maliki had signed a new declaration of friendship, partnership and co-operation between their two countries, setting out a new basis for relations between them.

He said negotiations would be opened on an investment promotion and protection agreement while a review of export credit guarantees would be brought forward.



"This is a clear message for companies worldwide: Iraq is open for business," he said.



Co-operation would also continue on oil exploration in the Gulf, and on education - bringing Iraqi students to the UK and increasing English language training in Iraq.



"Britain and Iraq have deep historical ties. The last six years have changed our relationship again," he said.



"Today we open the next chapter in our relations, a chapter which I preface with my deep respect and appreciation for Iraq's achievements and my gratitude to Britain's armed forces who have made such a lasting contribution."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'