Spain to send election experts to Iraq

22nd July 2004, Comments 0 comments

22 July 2004, NEW YORK — Madrid is to send elections experts to Iraq in response to a request by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, but Spain stressed that no troops or peacekeeping forces would be deployed to the war-torn country, it was reported Thursday.

22 July 2004

NEW YORK — Madrid is to send elections experts to Iraq in response to a request by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, but Spain stressed that no troops or peacekeeping forces would be deployed to the war-torn country, it was reported Thursday.

In statements to reporters after meeting with Annan, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Spain also plans to contribute to the stabilisation of Haiti with a contingent of 100, including police, engineers to rebuild roads and bridges "and also a military unit."

It was the first meeting between Annan and Moratinos since the latter was appointed foreign minister in the new Socialist government of premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Annan expressed his "profound gratitude" for Spain's contribution to peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan and Haiti, and he asked Moratinos for Spanish assistance in the electoral process in Iraq, once the United Nations has assumed the role of safeguarding the "legitimacy" of the transference of sovereignty.

Moratinos said his government would heed Annan's request by sending Spaniards to help with the elections in Iraq, but never contribute to a "peacekeeping force, even a UN-led or multinational force."

"Spain will not have soldiers or troops in Iraq, and it will not take part in cooperation on security matters," said Moratinos.

One of Zapatero's first acts upon taking office in April was to announce the rapid withdrawal of Spain's 1,300 troops in Iraq, where they had been dispatched by his conservative predecessor, Jose Maria Aznar.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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