Moratinos says 'no' to Powell over Iraq

10th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

10 December 2004, BRUSSELS - Spain will not contribute troops to a NATO mission in Iraq, Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos told US Secretary of State Colin Powell during a brief meeting.

10 December 2004

BRUSSELS - Spain will not contribute troops to a NATO mission in Iraq, Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos told US Secretary of State Colin Powell during a brief meeting.

Powell had earlier called on European countries to "involve" themselves more in the stabilization of the country.

The move came as it emerged US President George W Bush will visit Europe but is expected to snub Spain.

Moratinos, who met for 10 minutes with Powell on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels, reaffirmed the decision of the Socialist administration to refrain from a military presence in Iraq, having withdrawn all Spanish troops from the country in April of this year.

Moratinos stressed, however, that Spain would contribute "in other ways" to ensuring elections can be held there on 30 January.

"Regarding Iraq, Spain intends to maintain a constructive position within the Alliance, but we will not of course change our position (on deploying troops)," Moratinos declared.

"We retain the same position we did months ago, but with a desire to look to the future so that the Iraqi people can regain their country, their politics and their security."

His comments came after Powell called on NATO's European members to "implicate" themselves more in Iraq - a reference to those countries, such as Spain, that do not have troops in the country.

The US secretary of state, who is stepping down in January, noted nonetheless that Washington "is committed to the transatlantic relationship," an indication that US President George W. Bush is eager to overcome past rifts with European capitals over his foreign policy.

In reference to Spain's recently turbulent relationship with the United States, the foreign minister said his brief encounter with Powell had been "fruitful" and that there are intentions on both sides to "maintain relations at the highest level."

"It was an intense and short conversation in which we reviewed our bilateral relationship," Moratinos said.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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