Baghdad, Dec.17 (ANI): British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Iraqi counterpart, Nouri al-Maliki, have revealed that UK forces will have "completed their tasks" in the first half of 2009 and will then leave Iraq.
The two leaders made the announcement in a joint statement released as they held talks in Baghdad.
On Tuesday the Iraqi council of ministers agreed a new resolution allowing British troops to remain in the country until the end of July. Their current United Nations mandate expires at the end of the month.
British officials say the resolution merely set a last possible date for the vast majority of Britain's 4,100-strong contingent to be gone.
Brown confirmed the outlines of the plans before preparing to update the House of Commons in greater detail on Thursday.
The Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, is accompanying the Prime Minister on the visit.
Brown's visit to Iraq follows a similar pre-Christmas trip to Afghanistan at the weekend.
Brown is hoping that British troops will begin withdrawing from their base in Basra in the spring. (ANI)