The UK foreign secretary has challenged American criticism, asserting that only his government will dictate the pace and timing of a British withdrawal from Iraq. David Miliband responded to allegations from a retired US general that the UK army must step up efforts in Basra. "The British national interest," not wider coalition success, will be his focus, Millband said.
Yesterday PM Gordon Brown ruled out a timetable for the removal of British troops from Basra, but a withdrawal is clearly imminent; in a short time all UK forces will be stationed exclusively at Basra airport. On BBC Radio today, Miliband scuppered claims that the UK was waiting for David Petraeus' coming report and continued the new UK government's distancing from the American war effort.