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Volume 477: debated on Monday 16 June 2008

9. To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on economic development in Basra province. (210798)

As the Prime Minister explained to the House last October, economic reconstruction in Iraq—and in particular in Basra province—is a key element of our strategy. We are supporting Iraqi Government and private sector efforts to stimulate economic development in Basra, and I saw some encouraging signs of progress during my recent visit to the city. I will continue to have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues on this and other elements of our strategy in Iraq.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress is being made on the mentoring, monitoring and training of Iraqi security forces in southern Iraq. (210804)

UK forces in southern Iraq continue to make very good progress in mentoring and training the Iraqi Security Forces. Our main focus is on developing the 14th Division of the Iraqi Army until it is fully operational. We have embedded a significant number of our people with that division in order to help achieve this, and our forces continue to provide a range of other support as well. The performance of 14th Division during recent operations in and around Basra demonstrates the continuing success of our approach.