46 minutes ago
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Iraqi counterpart, Nouri Maliki, have said that UK forces will have "completed their tasks" in the first half of 2009 and will then leave the country.
The two leaders made the announcement in a joint statement released as they held talks in Baghdad.
They said: "The role played by the UK combat forces is drawing to a close. These forces will have completed their tasks in the first half of 2009 and will then leave Iraq."
The premiers added that the partnership between the two countries would continue.
On Wednesday, 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.
Mr Brown confirmed the outlines of the plans today before updating the House of Commons in greater detail tomorrow.
The Prime Minister is being accompanied on the visit by the Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff.
Click to view image: 'British PM arrives in Iraq'
Click to view image: 'PM meets a UK serviceman'
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