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Zapatero pledges supportfor Iraq consensus

7 June 2004

MADRID – Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said Monday that Madrid  would work to support a consenus in the United Nations about the future of Iraq even if it does not produce the “ideal result”.

Zapatero, who was holding a meeting with the Danish premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Madrid, referred to the new climate in relations between Europe and the United States after the 60th anniversary D-Day commemorations Sunday.

He said he was hopeful that it would be possible to approve a new UN resolution on Iraq before 30 June when the UN had been supposed to take over the mandate there.

Zapatero chose to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq.

Originally, he said he would only do this before 30 June if the UN did not take over by this date.

But as it appeared increasingly unlikely this would happen, Zapatero ordered the withdrawal of 1,300 Spanish troops shortly after assuming power in April.

He said Monday it now seemed that the UN would not assume the mandate in Iraq by this deadline.

Zapatero said: “Our objectives would have been more ambitious; the return of sovereignty, the speeding up of elections, the United Nations to assume the leadership of the whole process.”

However, Zapatero admitted that “these ambitious objectives are not feasible and we are going to contribute so that we have an adequate resolution that goes towards the improvement of the situation.”

On 30 June, power will transfer from the hands of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) run by the United States and Britain to an interim Iraqi government.

The CPA will cease to exist and its head Paul Bremer will return to the United States. Formally the occupation will end.

This interim government will not be able to make or change any basic law.

It will have a theoretical right to ask foreign troops to leave but will not exercise it since those in the government have supported the presence of US and other troops.

The government is will have a major, perhaps the final, say, through a National Security Council chaired by an Iraqi and with US and British generals on it.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news