Brown not satisfied over the pace of national reconciliation in Iraq

LONDON, Jan 8 (KUNA) — British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday that the process of national reconciliation in Iraq is not fast enough and should be speeded up this year.
The Prime Minister was responding to a question during his monthly news conference at 10 Downing Street, the first in the New Year.

He also stressed the need for the Iraqi Government to approve the necessary laws required on the oil sector and other areas in the country.
On the economy of Basra, Brown said that the long term future of the province depends on jobs and improved economy.

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He called on the Iraqi Government to appoint their representatives in the Basra council, which is being set up jointly with Britain, to help in the reconstruction and development of southern Iraq.

In answer to a question by KUNA, the Prime Minister said he “regretted” the incident in which five armed Iranian boats approached three US warships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The confrontation took place last weekend and was described by the Pentagon as “reckless and dangerous”. For his part, Brown said that “we are waiting for further details about the incident”.

“Further information is still coming on this incident”, he remarked.
The British leader also told KUNA that he expects shortly to speak to US President George W Bush, who embarked today on a wide-ranging tour of the Middle East designed to breathe new life in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

In answer to another question, Brown stressed that Syria has a responsibility that should be met, “and it should use this responsibility in a proper way, and we will continue to remind them about that”. The Prime Minister also condemned acts of violence in the region, while insisting that there will be no British dialogue with Hamas until it meets the required principles of recognising Israel and abandoning violence.