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Straw to meet Iraqi leaders

British's foreign secretary was in Iraq to hear the discussions going on amongst the various parties about the formation of a new government.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2006 20:54 IST

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was in the main southern Iraqi city of Basra on Friday to meet local politicians following the country's general election, the Foreign Office said.

"It's an opportunity for him to meet local politicians since we've just had the successful elections in December," a Foreign Office spokesman said.

Straw was to hear the discussions going on in Iraq amongst the various parties about the formation of a new government, he said.

"In Basra, he's meeting the governor, members of the city's ruling council and other politicians to discuss those issues and obviously he'll be getting an update on the security situation."

The Foreign Office would not disclose whether Straw was to head for Baghdad.

The spokesman said the foreign secretary would not be paying a visit to British soldiers but would speak with senior British commanders.

Some 8,000 British soldiers are stationed in Iraq, largely in the area around Basra.

Defence Secretary John Reid said in November that the pullout of British troops from Iraq will be a gradual process that could begin in 2006, depending on the conditions on the ground.

First Published: Jan 06, 2006 20:54 IST