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US reverses troops ban following London bombings

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, July 12, IRNA
US Troops-London Ban

The US Tuesday reversed a ban prevented its armed forces personnel from visiting London in the aftermath of last week's bombing after the decision was widely criticized in the British media.

According to Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman, American officials said the ban allowed British emergency services to "do their job" following the series of terrorist attacks that killed over 50 people.

"I understand that this was a temporary response to last Thursday's event and I understand that the orders to Navy personnel have already lapsed," the spokesmen told reporters at his daily briefing session Thursday.

After news of the ban was leaked to the press, Britain's Defence Secretary John Reid disclosed he had been in talks with the US over the decision, which was criticized as being in contradiction to police encouraging Londoners to go about their normal business.

Reid said that the US made a "decision taken locally" but insisted that "the Americans have been unstinting in their support" from the first moments after the bombings.

The Prime Minister's spokesman also emphasized that American citizens had been advised by their embassy not to avoid London but "to carry on as normal with the usual precaution."
Some 12,000 military personnel from US bases in Britain were reported to have been issued with a "battle staff directive" last Friday not allowing them to go anywhere inside the outer M25 ringroad around London.

The ban was also criticized by London's Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, who was quoted saying that he was "disappointed" by the order, but who added he was sure it would be reversed "because they stand shoulder to shoulder with us." HC/1416

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