Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Spain’s prime minister says he supports Iraq’s “sovereignty and stability”

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also met with Spanish troops in Baghdad on Thursday during a visit, saying he supported Iraq’s “sovereignty and stability.”

“Our country will always respond to the requests of the Iraqi authorities and support the unity, sovereignty and stability of Iraq,” Sanchez said at a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani.

Spain has sent more than 300 soldiers since May as part of the International Anti-Jihadist Coalition and NATO mission to Iraq, commanded by Spanish General José Antonio Aguero Martínez.

On Thursday, President Sudani praised “the coalition’s support to Iraq’s efforts in the fight against terrorism.”

The coalition deployed to fight the Islamic State group has faced an increase in attacks since the Israeli-Hamas war began on October 7, most of them by Iranian allies opposed to Israel. It was due to the organization.

Mr. Sánchez visited Spanish troops at a military base in Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone, thanking them on behalf of Spain for their “efforts and sacrifices for international security and stability.”

“In Iraq, Spain has for many years shown a solid commitment to what seems to have been called into question in recent years: multilateralism,” he said.

Iraq is becoming relatively politically stable after decades of conflict, but corruption and cronyism remain major obstacles in the oil-rich country.

Tensions have been high in Iraq, which is ruled by a party close to Iran, an ally of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, since the group’s unprecedented attack on Israel and subsequent air and ground strikes in the Gaza Strip.

Since mid-October, Washington has recorded more than 100 drone and rocket attacks against U.S. and other coalition forces deployed in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

Most of the attacks in Iraq are carried out by Iraq’s Islamic resistance group, which opposes US support for Israel in its war against Hamas.

Sánchez, who accompanied a delegation of business leaders to Baghdad, said he was dedicated to developing trade between Spain and Iraq, which derive more than 90% of their income from oil and gas.

According to Iraq’s state-run news agency INA, President Sudani said Iraq will provide “preferential treatment in favor of Spanish companies” that wish to do business in the country.

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