As part of a dramatic restructuring of its embassies and consulates around the world, Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office will close its consulate in Basra, according to a report from The Independent.
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, is thought to have concluded that the high cost of providing security to the consulate is disproportionate to the benefit it brings Britain – especially now it has no military presence there.
The move will fuel concerns that Britain is "abandoning" Iraq on cost grounds and will be badly placed to take advantage of the oil boom in the area. The number of overseas staff at the British Embassy in Baghdad has already dropped by about 30 per cent.
The British Consul General in Basra, Richard Wood, visited Basra Investment Commission recently (see picture) to discuss how best to facilitate British investors entering the province.
(Source: The Independent, BIC)