MADRID, April 18 (UPI) -- In one of his first acts as Spain's new prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero Sunday issued orders withdrawing all 1,300 Spanish troops from Iraq.
The BBC reported Zapatero had ordered his newly appointed defense minister to "do what is necessary for the Spanish troops stationed in Iraq (to) return home in the shortest time possible."
The Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement it was told by Spain's foreign minister the pull-out would be "within 15 days."
U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told interviewers on ABC's "This Week" that she would not be surprised if some others of the 34 countries with forces on the ground in Iraq now followed Spain's example and made "some changes."
Zapatero, a Socialist, was voted into office within days of the terrorist railway bombings in Madrid. In ordering the troops to return, he said he could not ignore what he called the will of the Spanish people.
"With the information we have, and which we have gathered over the past few weeks, it is not foreseeable that the United Nations will adopt a resolution" that satisfies Spain's terms, Zapatero said.