On her first official visit to Baghdad, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has said Britain is determined to see responsibility for security transferred to the elected government of Iraq. After meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, Beckett said the transfer of power was the key to Iraq’s future – and welcomed the prospect that by the end of the year half of the country’s 18 provinces would be under government control. Beckett’s words come amid increasing concern in Britain over attacks on soldiers deployed abroad, principally in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yesterday a roadside bomb near the southern Iraqi city of Basra killed two British soldiers and seriously wounded a third.
Beckett calls for transfer of power to Iraqi authorities