First troops return to Spanish soil
28 April 2004
BADAJOZ – The first group of Spanish soldiers to return home from Iraq arrived Wednesday.
Military sources said 259 soldiers from the Plus Ultra II International Brigade returned to the military airfield at the Talavera la Real base in Badajoz, western Spain, from Kuwait.
The brigade was welcomed by General Fulgencio Coll, commander of Plus Ultra II for the last four months, and about three thousand family members, friends and relatives of the soldiers.
Among the returning soldiers was Captain Javier Vilches, who was injured in an ambush on 8 April.
Colonel Antonio Budiño Carballo, commanding officer, told the press that the situation in Iraq is “the same as in the last weeks when the crisis broke out, but is now under control as far as the withdrawal of Spanish troops is concerned”.
He refused to comment on the number of Spanish troops still in Iraq “for obvious security reasons”.
Budiño insisted the news to withdraw was received as a mission to accomplish, the same as when they were ordered to Iraq.
The journey from Iraq to Talavera la Real, with a stop in Kuwait, took 28 hours.
Budiño said the delicate crossing was made possible thanks to the coordination and support of all the bases along the way.
In his opinion, the situation in Iraq can be solved with the collaboration of the Iraqi people themselves.
He said he felt their mission produced positive results in the eight months they were stationed in Diwaniya and Nayaf, where improvements are visible in infrastructure, schools and social stability.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news