Spanish troops outof Iraq by next week
10 May 2004, MADRID – Spanish troops are to leave their base in Iraq by 17 May, the Defence Minister announced Monday.
10 May 2004
MADRID – Spanish troops are to leave their base in Iraq by 17 May, the Defence Minister announced Monday.
José Bono said the Spanish troops would leave their base in Diwaniya. The base would be occupied by United States troops.
He also disclosed that Spain told other allies in Iraq that it would not take part in the hunt to find the rebel leader "alive or dead".
At a press conference in Madrid, Bono said: "We were not prepared to deliver – as they had asked, alive or dead, the religious leader of the rebels because the Spanish troops are subject to international law which stops us from being a force of occupation or offensive which stops us being an occupying power and offensive."
Bono, who paid a surprise visit to Iraq over the weekend, said all Spanish soldiers could return "before 27 May" – the date which was set by prime minister Jose Lluis Rodríguez Zapatero.
The minister met relatives of the eight secret service CNI officers who have been killed in Iraq.
Asked his opinion of the apparent torturing of prisoners by American and British troops, Bono said: "No Spanish soldier has used any form of mistreatment or torture".
He added that the photos of the maltreatment made left him feeling of "true repugnance".
Bono said his principal reason for visiting the troops was to show support from the government, the Spanish Royal family and the people towards the Spanish soldiers.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news