Friday, February 27, 2004

Spain to lead in Iraq?

Spain might take over the multi-national military contingent in Iraq, currently lead by Poland, after July 1st.

Spain, with 1,300 men deployed in Iraq, is still pondering whether to take over command from Poland of the multinational force stationed there, Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio said here Thursday.

"The Spanish government has taken no decision, whether to reinforce its contingent or take over the command," she said, speaking at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

A multinational military contingent in south-centre Iraq -- comprising troops other than those of the United States and Britain -- is currently headed by Poland until July 1.

The Spanish government, facing a general election on March 14, "is working with other NATO members because we consider it important for the Alliance to have a major presence in Iraq if so wished, and as long as it is organised in accordance with both the Iraqi authorities and the UN," she said.


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