Spain won't bow to Blair's Iraq plea

March 25, 2004 at 12:26 PM

MADRID, March 25 (UPI) -- Newly elected Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has reaffirmed his intentions to pull 1,300 troops from Iraq, The Times of London reported.

Zapatero reiterated his campaign promise while meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Madrid, dashing hopes of Britain and the United States of continuing military support.

However, Zapatero said his position should not be misinterpreted as any lessening of Spain's political support for a successful transfer of power in Iraq.

Blair reportedly went to great lengths to assure Zapatero conditions in Iraq would improve, and United Nations involvement was only a matter of time.

In his election campaign, Zapatero vowed Spain would only participate militarily once Iraqis were given sovereignty under U.N. -- not U.S. -- supervision.

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