Zapatero pays tribute to lost troops
24 May 2004, ALMERIA - As the final contingent of Spanish soldiers formerly stationed in Iraq arrived home Monday prime minister Jose Lluis Rodriguez Zapatero paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the country.
24 May 2004
ALMERIA - As the final contingent of Spanish soldiers formerly stationed in Iraq arrived home Monday prime minister Jose Lluis Rodriguez Zapatero paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the country.
The contingent of 217 troops arrived in Almeria, south-eastern Spain, from Iraq.
Zapatero paid homage to the troops who lost their lives in a video-conference to all Spanish troops abroad.
He said: "You are there where society wants you to be, completing a difficult task; you are defending the values of liberty, democracy, security and representing a great country – Spain."
Since Spanish troops arrived in Iraq in July 2003, 11 Spanish troops from several units have been killed in separate incidents.
The prime minister was talking to army chiefs stationed in the Balkans, Afghanistan and the Indian Ocean.
Defence Minister José Bono met the latest group of soldiers to arrive home.
Another group of troops flew into the same airport in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The 252 soldiers, including First Sgt. Francisco Javier Cubero Mellado, who was wounded in an ambush on 20 May, were the fourth group to return to Spain since Zapatero ordered the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq.
Defence Ministry officials said that 150 troops providing logistical support still remained in Kuwait.
Spain commanded the Plus Ultra Brigade in Iraq, in which Honduras, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua also took part.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news