Spain is ready to participate in a multilateral intervention in the troubled African nation of Mali, but military action must only be a "last resort," the Iberian nation's defense minister said here Monday.
Pedro Morenes made his remarks after meeting in Berlin with his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, with whom he discussed, among other things, the two nation's "common concern" over the situation in the Sahel region, which is currently dominated by Islamist terrorist groups.
"Spain is not going to intervene unilaterally in Mali," said the minister, adding that Madrid wants to "face up to" the growing instability in the zone "in the most multilateral way possible," along with its European and U.S. partners and with the support of the African Union.
Morenes's words coincided with those of Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, who said Monday in Madrid that the Spanish government is ready to provide help, in coordination with the European Union, for the military mission that several African nations are preparing in northern Mali.
Morenes also said that the aim of an intervention would be to "stop a very complicated situation" in the Sahel, the sub-Saharan region including Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Chad, the two Sudans and Eritrea, and to ensure that the zone does not become a "refuge" for terrorists and criminals.
Morenes and De Maiziere in their meeting on Monday reviewed their options in the region, after Spain withdrew its aid workers in the area given the rising risk of the kidnapping of foreigners. EFE