Spain to pull out troops within days

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Earlier today, PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero ordered the troops out of Iraq as soon as possible, fulfilling a campaign pledge to a nation still recovering from terrorist bombings that al-Qaeda militants said were reprisal for Spain’s support of the war.

Mr Zapatero issued the abrupt recall just hours after his government was sworn in, saying there was no sign the United States would meet his demands for staying in Iraq – United Nations control of the postwar occupation.

Mr Zapatero’s Socialist party won the March 14 general election amid allegations that outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar had provoked the commuter train terrorist bombings, which killed 191 people three days earlier, by backing the war in Iraq.

Mr Zapatero said Spain’s government would continue to support Iraq’s stability, democratisation, territorial integrity and reconstruction.

Spain would also support any United Nations or European Union effort to help Iraqis’ recover sovereignty and hold free, democratic elections, he said.