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Zapatero: terroristswill not blackmail us

23 April 2004

MADRID – Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said it was obvious the United Nations would not take over in Iraq, it was reported Friday.

In an interview published in the El Mundo newspaper, the new premier said he decided to withdraw the 1,300-strong Spanish contingent because he did not believe his demand for the UN to take over the mandate would happen.

He told the newspaper: “It was obvious there was no chance the United Nations would take over.”

The new Socialist administration threatened to pull out Spanish troops if the UN did not take over by 1 July as planned.

Zapatero said the war with Iraq was launched “to seek out Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction”.

But the US and its allies “acted on an original error”, as no weapons have been found and have now shifted to justifying it as a fight against international terrorism.

Zapatero said: “International terrorism cannot be fought using the strategies of conventional war.”

He said he is convinced that his government’s efforts, based on “devoting more manpower and other resources to the fight against international terrorism, will be much more successful than a conventional war.”

Regarding terrorist threats to retaliate against Spain if it enlarges its contingent in Afghanistan, the prime minister said his administration “will not stand for the slightest attempt at blackmail from a terrorist organisation.”

“The only thing we’re going to do about terrorism is to chase it down, applying the full force of the state and the law,” he added.

The new installed prime minister repeated his plans to build “an exemplary democracy in legislation, in conduct,” one that will help Spain advance in matters of social justice.

Rodriguez Zapatero said he is open to allowing gay couples to adopt children and limiting exposure to American films, and vowed to maintain and protect the independent media.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news