Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 17th May 2004.

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Photo of Geoff Hoon Geoff Hoon Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence 2:30 pm, 17th May 2004

I answered that question right at the start of Question Time, but I shall take the opportunity to repeat myself, as I shall again in the debate to follow. It is important that we are able on 30 June to hand over to the Iraqi people not only sovereignty, but authority—the ability to take real decisions on the future of their own country. That will lead towards a situation by the end of this year or early next year in which there can be elections and a Government elected for all the people of Iraq. As we do that, we need to become less and less responsible for security as more and more Iraqis assume that responsibility for themselves. We will, however, be there to assist the Iraqis in delivering that security for the benefit of the Iraqi people.