Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says it is time for British troops to leave the country because they are no longer necessary for security and control.
In an interview with The Times newspaper published Monday, Mr. Maliki thanked the British troops for their help. He said there might be a need for their experience in training Iraqi forces and some technological issues, but that the emphasis is now on business cooperation and friendship.
The Iraqi leader also criticized Britain's decision to move its troops out of Basra earlier this year, which he said gave gangs and militias the chance to control the city.
In violence Sunday, four separate attacks in northern city of Mosul and the capital, Baghdad, killed at least 16 people and wounded more than 50 others.
Mr. Maliki also ordered an investigation into a recent series of attacks against Christians in Mosul.
Following talks with Christian officials, Mr. Maliki condemned the violence that has prompted nearly one thousand Christian families to flee the city recently.
Iraqi authorities have deployed more than a thousand police officers to guard Christian districts and churches in Mosul.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.