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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 October 2006, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Prince Philip makes Basra visit
Prince Philip
Prince Philip has made a brief trip to Basra to visit British troops
The Duke of Edinburgh has paid a brief visit to Iraq, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

Prince Philip spent several hours in the city of Basra in the south of the country, visiting soldiers from the Queen's Royal Hussars.

He told them he believed they had the support of the majority of people in Britain - and many in Iraq.

There are currently about 7,000 UK troops in Iraq, down from almost 50,000 when coalition forces invaded in 2003.

The prince handed out recent promotions and addressed the troops.

He said: "It's a great pleasure to see you here.

"As you can imagine, everybody at home - as you know perfectly well - has been following what's been going on in this part of the world

"And I think most of us (have) a great deal of sympathy for those of you...at the sharp end, who are trying to do your best to make life civilised and tolerable for the locals.

"And I'm quite sure that a great many locals do very much appreciate what you're trying to do for them."

The prince also told the troops that he could not thank them "on behalf of anybody," but did say they had done a "fantastic job, and I hope you will all get home safely and have some well-earned leave".

On Sunday Defence Secretary Des Browne said Iraqi forces in the south could be capable of taking control of security in a year's time.

And shadow foreign secretary William Hague said UK plans in Iraq should be reviewed to match the strategy rethink in the US.


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Prince Phillip addresses troops in Iraq



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