Spain, US reaffirm good co-op in Afghanistan.

Spain Defense Minister Jose Bono and US Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre on Wednesday reaffirmed the good cooperation between Madrid and Washington in Afghanistan, where Spain is to send more troops to boost security for the upcoming elections.

Bono described as "very cordial" his two-hour meeting with Aguirre at Buenavista Palace, the seat of the army headquarters. The US diplomat praised the important role Spain has played in the peace-keeping mission in Afghanistan.

The Spanish defense chief informed the US envoy that his country will send a battalion of 500 troops to prop up security during the elections slated for Sept. 18 in Afghanistan, where Spain leads a Logistic Support Unit and a Provincial Reconstruction Unit.

Relations between Madrid and Washington soured last year when Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero pulled out Spain's 1,300 troops from post-war Iraq after his party won the March general elections.

The Spanish parliament's foreign affairs commission approved a resolution in May, saying it had been proven that Iraq neither possessed nor was in a condition to possess any weapons of mass destruction when the United States launched the war. The two countries remain far apart on the issue of Iraq.

[Source: Xinhua News Agency, Madrid, 07Jul05]

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