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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UK appoints fourth Iraq ambassador in four years

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, July 7, IRNA
Iraq-New UK Envoy
The British Foreign Office announced Friday that it was changing its ambassador in Baghdad for the fourth time in four years, with the appointment of former coordinator to the Sudan peace process, Christopher Prentice.

Prentice, who also served as British Ambassador in Amman from 2002 to 2006, is due to take up the post in September in succession to the Dominic Asquith, who is being transferred to another diplomatic service appointment.

When taking up his post last year, Asquith warned that there was a "pressing need for short-term achievements showing visible improvements in basic services and the effective use of Iraqi resources and wealth."

"The Iraqi people need to have confidence in their government and all its institutions to improve their lives," Asquith said after presenting his credentials to Iraq's president Jalal Talabani.

His predecessor, William Patel, was reported warning just before being replaced last year that civil war was a more likely outcome in Iraq than democracy. He also predicted the break-up of Iraq along ethnic lines.

Patel had replaced Edward Chaplain, who became Britain's first ambassador to Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion when he reopened a new heavily-fortified embassy in Baghdad following the setting up of an interim government in 2004.

At the time, Chaplin was reported to have insisted that his term be limited to 12 months, unlike the customary three or four years posts assigned to British ambassadors.

In the initial aftermath of the occupation, Prime Minister Tony Blair first appointed former UK Ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock as his special envoy, but who has since become an ardent critic of the way the war has been conducted.

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