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Zapatero salutes Iraq troops

Published on 29/04/2004

29 April 2004

BADAJOZ – José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero welcomed back Thursday the first brigade of Spanish troops to return from Iraq.

The Spanish premier paid homage to all those who had lost their lives or been injured in Iraq “completing what they had to do”.

Zapatero offered his “most profound respect” from the Spanish government and people to the relatives and friends of those soldiers who had been killed or injured.

He said the troops had completed their mission with “professionalism”.

Zapatero, who was accompanied by Defence Minister José Bono, visited the Plus Ultra Brigade II at the base in Badajoz in western Spain where they arrived Wednesday.

Bono promised: “We will not be sending new troops to Iraq. More than this, within 30 days all our troops will have returned to Spain.”

The Plus Ultra Brigade II has been stationed in Iraq for the past four months as part of Spain’s 1,300-contingent in the country.

Bono paid tribute to the way the soldiers had “contributed to create a climate of better security in the country.”

Crowds of relatives and friends welcomed back the 259 troops to the base in Badajoz in western Spain Wednesday.

They had brought humanitarian help and health supplies. The troops had also helped to repair hospitals, colleges, kindergartens and destroyed arms left by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The Spanish troops had also helped to set up a new Iraqi police force.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news