British Official Slams U.S. Over Iraq Probe

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A British government minister has criticized the U.S. military for failing to cooperate with inquests into the deaths of British soldiers 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.

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.