BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq province power transferred: "Britain has handed over responsibility for security in one of Iraq's 18 provinces to local forces for the first time since the country was invaded.
An agreement transferring power in Muthanna was signed by Major General John Cooper, who commands coalition forces in southern Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was present, said the handover 'will bring happiness to all Iraqis'.
It ends the long-term presence of coalition troops in the province.
UK Defence Secretary Des Browne said it was a 'milestone' for the people of the region and of Iraq.
'It is a proud day for the Iraqi Security Forces and the Iraqi government. They have worked hard to get here and have shown a lot of determination.
'Today takes them one step nearer to assuming full responsibility for their own security and to building a stable and democratic future for their country.'
35 minutes ago