Iraq cost Spain EUR 369m

25th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

25 May 2004, MADRID – Spain's military presence in Iraq cost the country EUR 369 million, the Defence Minister said Tuesday.

25 May 2004

MADRID – Spain's military presence in Iraq cost the country EUR 369 million, the Defence Minister said Tuesday.

The bill included the withdrawal of troops, which ended Monday with the last soldiers arriving back on Spanish soil, said José Bono.

But two major Spanish fuel companies, Cepsa and Repsol, can now buy 15 million barrels of petrol, thanks to the Spanish involvement in Iraq.

Another Spanish company,  Soluziona, had won a contract worth at least USD 1,500 million.

Meanwhile, Bono insisted that no Spanish secret service agents from the National Intelligence Centre (CNI) remained in Iraq.

Bono also said Spain has no intention of strengthening its military contingent in Afghanistan.

He said despite prime minister Jose Lluis Rodríguez Zapatero's comments that more troops could be sent there, he wanted to make it clear this was not now a possibility.

He said: "We have no intention to send the troops from Iraq to Afghanistan".

Bono said it any future decision to send troops to a combat zone will be taken after a discussion in parliament.

He told the Spanish parliament Tuesday that the new Socialist administration will discuss decisions of this kind with the defence commission before taking the final decision.

Bono made his comments on Afghanistan as announced more spending on infrastructure and material for the Armed Forces.

But he said he would cut spending on administration and "bureaucracy".

"We are going to continue to carry on with the programmes of armament, " said Bono.

"We are not disposed to reduce them."

He was referring to military programmes started by the previous conservative Popular Party government.

Bono said the new government wanted to reduce the number of soldiers and increase the technical support for the Armed Forces.

Bono added that they also wanted to boost links between the army and the police in the fight against terrorism.

He said they had a role to play during natural crises, border patrols and protection of the environment.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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