No redeployment in Iraq, says UK

Published October 18, 2004

LONDON, Oct 17: British troops in Iraq will not be redeployed to Baghdad or Fallujah after it was confirmed that the United States has requested London to move its soldiers to the US-controlled sector, a defence ministry spokesman said Sunday.

"If the troops do go they won't be going to Baghdad or Fallujah," the spokesman said. He said that British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon would brief parliament on Monday over Washington's request.

"He plans to make a statement to the House (of Commons) tomorrow. What he is going to be saying is 'we have been approached by the Americans to deploy British troops in their area of operations'.

"He will also be stressing that no decision has been made and that we continue to consider their request and will do so on its individual merits. He won't be naming units, he won't be giving you a start date or anything like that," the spokesman added.

Reports in Britain have said British troops based in the relatively calm south of Iraq could be redeployed under US command near strife-torn Baghdad.

British media have been reporting that Washington has asked for British troops to be sent from the southern city of Basra to relieve US forces in south Baghdad.-AFP

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