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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
UK Iraq chief defends troops role
Gen Graeme Lamb (pic: Army)
Gen Lamb believes Iraq is at the point of transition
Britain's most senior Army officer in Iraq has insisted that coalition troops are "making a difference".

Lt Gen Graeme Lamb, deputy commander of the multinational force, denied that its mission in Iraq was "a lost cause".

"Are we moving towards a better life for Iraq and an opportunity for this nation to succeed? I believe so," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

He also said the Iraqi authorities were moving to take up the role "which we have held for the last four years".

Iraqi security forces do not have the capability of operating independently
Bernard Jenkin
Conservative MP

"(The Iraqi authorities) are now actively engaged in a way that senses we are in the point of transition," he said.

"This is difficult, it is dammed dangerous, but I have no question in my mind that we are making a difference."

He said he sensed that "responsibility and accountability" were being moved from multinational forces to the Iraqis.

He said local authorities were "taking ownership of the problems they face and their future".

Betrayal claim

Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, a member of the Commons defence select committee, warned against setting a timetable for withdrawal.

Mr Jenkin, who has just returned from Iraq, told Today: "Iraqi security forces do not have the capability of operating independently."

He warned that there would be a "huge strategic problem" if US troops pulled out.

He said a withdrawal of troops would be "betraying all the powers of the region who are depending on the British and Americans there to sort out what we started".

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