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London - Iraqi soldiers and police will be ready to take over security from coalition troops within a year, British junior foreign minister Kim Howells said Saturday.
He told BBC radio that he would be surprised if Iraqi forces had not taken over command by that time.
His comments came as British troops remained on standby to re-enter the southern city of Amara.
Security control was handed over to local forces in August but they have struggled to quell Shiite militia there.
"I would have thought that certainly in a year or so there will be adequately trained Iraqi soldiers and security forces - police men and women and so on - in order to do the job," Howells said.