The UK Royal Navy will return to Iraq to continue sailor training and protect oil platforms, following approval given by the Iraqi Government on 13 October 2009.

Earlier, the Royal Navy vessels withdrew operations from the Iraqi waters to join other UK vessels in the Persian Gulf, reports Bloomberg.

British Armed Forces Minister Bill Rammell said that resuming the activity would ensure the Iraqis could quickly develop the capacity to protect their own territorial waters and vital offshore oil platforms.

Around 100 to 150 personnel may return to Iraqi waters within the next two to three weeks, according to the British Ministry of Defence.

The Royal Navy ended a six-year deployment by removing all of its combat forces in Iraq by the end of July 2009 from their base near Basra.