LONDON, (AP) -A British government minister criticized the U.S. military for failing to cooperate with inquests into the deaths of British soldiers allegedly killed by “friendly fire” in Iraq.
Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet Harman said U.S. authorities’ failure to send troops or experts as witnesses was “not acceptable.”
“We have got an expectation that they should come, so that the bereaved relatives of the deceased servicemen can actually ask questions of what happened,” she said in comments broadcast on British television’s “GMTV Sunday” program.
“When they don’t come that’s not acceptable and we are prepared to say that’s not acceptable.”
Harman said she was seeking a meeting with senior U.S. officials to discuss the issue.
“We are their ally but if they don’t do anything that we think is necessary for the British interest then we are prepared to say so and say it is not acceptable,” Harman said.
Walker also criticized the U.S. military for failing to provide witnesses for his inquest into the deaths of two Royal Air Force servicemen shot down by an U.S. Patriot missile as they returned to Kuwait from a bombing mission in Iraq in March 2003.
In Britain, inquests take in every soldier’s death.
Last month, a coroner investigating the death of British television journalist Terry Lloyd — shot by U.S. troops in Iraq in March 2003 — criticized U.S. authorities for failing to name or provide access to the Marines involved in the incident.
Oxfordshire assistant deputy coroner Andrew Walker ruled that Lloyd had been unlawfully killed and asked the attorney general to take steps to bring those responsible to justice.