UK to review Iraq strategy for Blair's replacement - report
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
London, April 26, IRNA
Proposals are being prepared for a fundamental review of the British government's policy in Iraq after Prime Minister Tony Blair steps down from power, it was reported Thursday.
"The aim is to produce a report drawing on thinking in the British military and diplomatic establishment which is intended to be of comparable importance to that of the American Iraq Study Group," the Guardian newspaper said.
The daily said that those involved in the review included former British envoy to Baghdad, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, and former UN high representative to Bosnia Lord Ashdown and that it was due to be overseen by the Foreign Policy Centre in London.
The findings, it suggested, were "likely to prove influential" in the thinking of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, who is expected to replace Blair in the next few months.
The American Iraq Study Group, chaired by former US Secretary of State James Baker, called for a fundamental rethink of policy, including seeking the cooperation of Iran and Syria, but many of the proposals were rejected by President George W Bush.
Ashdown, who was also former leader of the Liberal Democrats, was quoted saying that there was a need for "some kind of conference of the regional powers."
"We need to find a new way forward, drawing on the foreign policy and military expertise available, as happened with the Iraq Study Group in the US," he said.
In a speech in Australia this week, Greenstock admitted that the coalition forces on their own could no longer bring peace to Iraq and also called for a new regional diplomatic initiative, leading to a peace conference similar to the Drayton agreement on Bosnia.
"We need the willing and positive help of the neighbours, because to my mind Iraq cannot now do this on its own. The coalition can only help to stop it getting worse; the coalition cannot make Iraq better. Iraqis have to do that," he said.
"If Iran and indeed the other neighbours realized that the coalition is now going to leave before too long and they became responsible for the security of the region then that is a different set of conditions for the region," Blair's former envoy said.
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