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Spain to pull out of Iraq

March 15, 2004 15:16 IST

Spain's prime minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wants to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq by June 30, the date set by the US to transfer power to a provisional government in Baghdad.

Speaking to a Spanish radio station, Zapatero said that no decision would be taken until he is in power and without wide political consultation, 'but the Spanish troops in Iraq will come home. The occupation of Iraq is a disaster'.

There are an estimated 1,300 Spanish soldiers in Iraq as part of the US-led coalition forces, which now rule that oil-rich nation.

Zapatero's Socialist Party romped home in Sunday's general elections defeating Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party. Aznar's handling of the terrorist attacks in Madrid and his support to the US-led coalition is said to be behind his shock defeat.

Most Spaniards believe that Spain has become a terrorist target due to its support to the US-led coalition.

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