Straw: Power transfer will improve security

26 November 2003
During an unannounced visit to Baghdad, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on 26 November said that a power transfer to Iraqis would help improve security in the country. At a press conference, Straw said he was 'absolutely sure that a more rapid political process will assist the security situation.' He added that 'the combination of the political process and military efforts will ensure there is transition on schedule for June [2004] and that Iraq will be a far better place as a result of that transition.' Straw pledged that the coalition would stay in Iraq as long as the Iraqis wanted them and as long as there was a job to be done. 'The more that we can give all Iraqis a stake in their future and a stable political architecture in which to work, the more I believe that more Iraqis will become committed to that future and fewer of them will think that terror, or acquiescence in terror, is the way forward,' he told reporters. Straw emphasised that maintaining Iraq's 'integrity' during the upcoming period of political transition was essential.

Soon after Straw spoke, the headquarters of the Coalition Provisional Authority in central Baghdad came under mortar fire. No one was injured in the attack, said a US spokesman.

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