US accord cannot depend on 'illegal' war: Madrid

16th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

16 December 2004, MADRID- The Spanish government has pushed for relations with the United States based on dialogue and respect but insists it will not support "illegal wars".

16 December 2004

MADRID- The Spanish government has pushed for relations with the United States based on dialogue and respect but insists it will not support "illegal wars".

Defence minister Jose Bono told the Spanish parliament friendship with the US could not depend on support for the Iraq invasion, which the present Spanish government regards as illegal.

Bono made the statement as he unveiled the new National Defence Directive, a document that outlines the Spanish government's military strategy over the next four years.

After taking office in April, the Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero pulled Spanish forces out of Iraq, where they had been sent by his conservative predecessor.

The move prompted Washington's ire and was followed by months of sporadic expressions from both the Bush administration and Madrid highlighting tension in U.S.-Spanish relations.

Bono said the directive responds to the need to consider Europe its main theatre of operations and maintain relations with the United States based on "loyalty, dialogue and mutual respect."

"We want to be friends, but that doesn't mean you have to take part in illegal wars with the United States," said Bono, who added that he sought to establish "relations based on friendship and an alliance in which Spain is offering support and resources to the United States that are its own and understandable only to a country that is a friend."

The ministry said the document, for the first time, views terrorism as the biggest threat to security and spells out changes in security and defence postures, above all after the 11 March bombings in Madrid.

The new strategy also proposes an effective multilateral system under the command of the United Nations and active parliamentary participation as prerequisites to the armed forces' engaging in operations abroad.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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