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British Military Hands Over Key Southern Base To Iraq


http://gdb.rferl.org/2EE6223B-4E9D-4A7B-99F3-A07F0F8C5E87_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/2EE6223B-4E9D-4A7B-99F3-A07F0F8C5E87_mw800_mh600.jpg British soldiers on patrol in Al-Basrah (file photo) (epa) March 20, 2007 -- The British military today handed over a key base in the southern city of Al-Basrah to Iraqi forces as part of British troops' gradual withdrawal from Iraq.


The structure known as the Old State Building had served as the headquarters of British troops in Al-Basrah since the U.S.-led invasion four years ago.


At a ceremony to lower the Union Jack and raise the Iraqi flag on top of the building, provincial Governor Mohammed Musabah al-Waeili said the handover marked "the first step by the Iraqis to take over the entire security [operation] in Al-Basrah."


(AFP)

The International Coalition In Iraq
Georgian soldiers marking Georgian Independence Day in Baghdad on June 6 (epa)

COALITION MEMBERS: In addition to the United States, 28 countries are Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) contributors as of May 31, 2006: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Fiji is participating as part of the UN mission in Iraq. Hungary, Iceland, Slovenia, and Turkey are NATO countries supporting Iraqi stability operations but are not part of MNF-I.

NON-U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL IN IRAQ: United Kingdom, 8,000 as of May 26, 2006; South Korea, 3,237 as of May 9, 2006; Italy, 2,900 as of April 27, 2006; Poland, 900 as of May 30, 2006; Australia, 900 as of March 28, 2006; Georgia, 900 as of March 24, 2006; Romania, 860 as of April 27, 2006; Japan, 600 as of May 30, 2006; Denmark, 530 as of May 23, 2006; All others, 1,140.

(Source: The Washington-based Brooking Institution’s Iraq Index of June 15, 2006)


THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.

RADIO FREE IRAQ: To visit the Arab-language website of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, click here.

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