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Spain rejects Iraq arms inquiry

Published on 03/02/2004

3 February 2004

MADRID – The government rejected calls Tuesday for an investigation into the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Opposition parties have been calling on prime minister Jose Maria Aznar to launch an inquiry into how the Spanish government based claims that there were such weapons in Iraq while Saddam Hussein was ruling the country.

It would follow moves by US President George W Bush, who is to hold an investigation, and inquiries in Britain by the government of Tony Blair.

But Aznar’s ruling conservative Popular Party rejected any such move.

Government spokesman Eduardo Zaplana said Tuesday that there would not be any sense in the government opening an investigation into the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

At a press conference at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Zaplana confirmed: “The government was and it is, absolutely coheren.t”

He added: “The government took the decision to participate in the occupation of Iraq “with the coherency of one who knows and goes on knowing that it would be in the best national interests and improve the security of the world.”

Zaplana was then asked by journalists about the possibility of Spain opening investigations into the issue like those of its closest allies the United States and Britain.

But he insisted that the government based its policies on information from the resolutions of the United Nations and their weapons inspectors.

Zaplana asked: “Then what has to be investigated?”

Spain’s support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq proved highly unpopular with opinion polls suggesting 80 percent of Spaniards were against the move.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news