British trainers suspend Iraq work

June 3, 2009 at 10:54 AM

BAGHDAD, June 3 (UPI) -- British Navy trainers had to suspend their work and two ships were forced to leave Iraq because of delays in a proposed agreement, officials say.

An expected deal between London and Baghdad to allow a contingent of Royal Navy trainers to remain in the country past the official end of Britain's combat mission next week has failed to materialize, putting Britain's final Iraqi efforts into disarray, the BBC reported Wednesday.

Military officials said they had hoped to get the deal done weeks ago, but Iraqi ministers only approved a draft of the accord Tuesday, and it still must go before parliament, where Iraqi MPs have a reputation for dragging their heels, the broadcaster said.

"The parliament is independent. We cannot determine the agenda for them," an unnamed senior Iraqi official said, while the Iraqi Defense Ministry asserted the delay was because the negotiations were complex.

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