UK troops are set to complete their tour of duty of Iraq by no later than July next year. The announcement comes as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a surprise visit to Baghdad to hold talks with his Iraqi counterpart Nouri al-Maliki and other top officials. In a joint statement, both leaders said UK forces would complete their tasks by the first half of 2009. Nearly six years after the US-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, Britain has around 4,000 soldiers still based in southern Iraq, near the city of Basra. With the UN mandate set to run out this year, the Iraqi cabinet drafted a new law on Tuesday allowing the UK’s temporary presence to continue. The agreement over withdrawal between Iraq and a few other countries means only US troops will be allowed to remain after July 2009.