Army general says sorry for threats over unity

19th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 June 2006, SEGOVIA — A former army chief of staff has apologized after giving a speech in which he appeared to meddle in politics.

19 June 2006

SEGOVIA — A former army chief of staff has apologized after giving a speech in which he appeared to meddle in politics.

General Alfonso Pardo de Santayana was reported by the Spanish daily El Pais to have said: "At this moment, when some believe that Spain's unity is in danger, I am going to make a toast to the king, who is the head of state and the chief of the entire army, as the guarantor of this unity."

The toast, during a celebration in Segovia, came on the eve of the vote for Catalan autonomy on Sunday.

It appeared to be another example of a senior army figure meddling in politics, something the military is banned from doing.

The comments caused a walkout by Socialist politicians who were present.

But Pardo said later in a letter: "I wasn't thinking about the government of the Catalan statute because my intentions were not political."

The head of the army, Lieutenant General Jose Mena Aguado, was dismissed in January when he threatened the army would have to intervene if the Catalan autonomy bid contravened the Spanish Constitution of 1978.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news 

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