Britain's Iraq mission said accomplished

March 8, 2009 at 1:13 PM
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BAGHDAD, March 8 (UPI) -- The commander of British troops in Iraq says their mission has been accomplished and their sacrifices have contributed to a good cause.

Maj. Gen. Andy Salmon told The Sunday Telegraph that the 179 British troops killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion did not die in vain, adding now is the right time for Britain's remaining troops to go home.

Salmon asserted a power vacuum in the country that had once been exploited by militias and insurgents has now been filled by the Iraqi army.

"The picture in Iraq is very positive right now," he said. "We (the coalition) got rid of a dictator, we have given freedom to Iraqis, we have seen the start of a democratic process, we have seen things get better."

Britain announced in December its remaining troops would leave Iraq possibly by the end of May or earlier.

"The Iraqis are very friendly toward us and they are actually very appreciative of what we've done and the sacrifices that have been made so we have given something precious," Salmon said. "So the sacrifices of our mates have not been in vain, so in that respect it has been worth it."

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