Spain may delay participating in EU piracy force

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A newspaper reports says Spanish Defence Minister will not ask parliament for authorisation to send troops on Wednesday as scheduled.

MADRID – Spain could delay its naval participation in the new EU force aimed at combating piracy off Somalia, a Spanish newspaper reported Tuesday.

In November, Defence Minister Carme Chacon said Spain would send a warship with 196 troops early next year as part of the operation in the pirate infested seas in the Horn of Africa.

But the newspaper ABC said she is not expected to ask parliament for authorisation on Wednesday as scheduled.

The frigate Victoria may join the mission in the spring when the captain of the vessel, Juan Garat Carame, takes over the three-month command of the force, the paper said, quoting military sources.

Spain currently has a P3 Orion reconnaissance plane and around 90 troops as part of the force.

Vessels from at least eight countries - Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden - are expected to take part in the operation, which will escort aid ships and carry out anti-piracy duties.

The mission, dubbed Atalanta, officially started Monday, taking over from four NATO vessels in the area, but is unlikely to be up to full strength before the end of the month.

[AFP / Expatica]

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