6 April 2004
MADRID – Spain’s new defence minister met secretly over the weekend with US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, it was reported Tuesday.
The meeting was reported by ABC newspaper which said Jose Bono met the Pentagon chief on Sunday without the participation of Spanish diplomats or any representative of the outgoing conservative government.
A Pentagon spokesman told EFE from Washington that he was unaware of the meeting, saying that neither Rumsfeld nor US Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz had any official appointments or events scheduled Sunday.
Socialist Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who is to take office later this month, campaigned on a pledge to pull Spain’s 1,300 troops out of Iraq.
Since winning the 14 March election, he has confirmed his intention to withdraw Spanish forces by 1 July if the United Nations does not take charge of the reconstruction effort.
The Bush administration has urged Zapatero not to withdraw troops.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news