Miliband hails Basra handover

David Miliband says the formal handover of security responsibilities in Basra province to the Iraqi army is a ‘step in the right direction’ for Iraq itself.

The foreign secretary was in attendance as control of the southern province, under British control since early 2003, was officially signed over to Iraq’s troops.

“For four and a half years we have been saying that we wanted Iraqis to take control of their own security,” Mr Miliband said from Basra.

Today’s handover, which comes after Gordon Brown’s surprise visit to Basra last week, will see UK troop numbers halved over the coming months.

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