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Iraq War: COMMITMENT: Population can face the future with confidence, says Ingram.

Britain's involvement in the military action in Iraq will help the population to face the future with confidence, Armed Forces minister Adam Ingram pledged yesterday.

Outlining the 'further steady progress' of the coalition forces, he underlined the government's commitment to both toppling Saddam and setting Iraq on course for political and economic stability. Mr Ingram said: 'Saddam and his barbaric regime will be removed from power. We will help the Iraqi people, who have suffered for too long, to look to the future with confidence.'

The different phases of the campaign were so closely interlinked that one influenced the other, he added, outlining the British assault on the southern city of Basra as an example.

Military action had already led to 'increasing normality' for the local people, including schools and hospitals reopening to ordinary civilians. 'There is no humanitarian crisis in southern Iraq, however, the situation is far from ideal,' Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire , the chief of air staff, outlined the RAF's contribution to the conflict.

Britain was contributing about ten per cent of the overall 1,200 sorties each day to secure air superiority and carry out missions such as targeting key Iraqi command and control centres.

Sir Peter said the use of new weapons such as the Storm Shadow missiles - which have been fired about 30 times in the last two weeks from RAF Tornados - and Maverick munitions - launched from Harrier GR7s - had been 'extremely successful'. Although it was currently difficult to make a full assessment of success rates, he said that the aerial bombardment had been the 'minimum force' used.

Compared with the last Gulf War, these so-called 'smart' precision weapons account for about 90 per cent of air weapons.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Apr 5, 2003
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