Robles assures that Spain plays an exceptional role in its missions and proves to be a reliable partner

News - 2024.7.4

4/07/2024. Robles assures that Spain plays an exceptional role in its missions and proves to be a reliable partner. The Minister for Defence... The Minister for Defence, Margarita Robles, during the videoconference with the heads of the Spanish contingents deployed in Slovakia, Lebanon and the 'Atalanta' operation in the Indian Ocean

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The Minister for Defence received the latest news on these missions, which are being carried out in scenarios of diverse geopolitical tensions, and in which she stressed that Spain plays an "exceptional" role.

The communication began with an address by Rear Admiral Manuel Alvargonzález, who in June took command of the EUNAVFOR mission, which is combating piracy in the Horn of Africa. The minister highlighted the "exceptional work" carried out by this mission, as well as the good relations between the Spanish contingent and the Somali authorities, in a "complicated and difficult" situation.

Although the situation has been relatively stable since 2019, there has been an increase in cases of Somali pirate attacks on ships since the end of last year, in parallel with a worsening of the situation in the Red Sea due to attacks by Yemeni Houthi militias.

Currently, said the rear admiral, in communication from the frigate 'Numancia', a reduction in piracy activity is foreseen due to the complicated weather in the area, which is expected to pick up from September onwards, while the connections between piracy and other activities such as illegal fishing and arms and drug trafficking are growing.

The Minister for Defence also received the latest news from the contingent deployed in Slovakia, which is part of the deterrence and defence missions carried out within the NATO framework. On 1 July, Spain took command of a 'Battle Group' of this operation to reinforce the Eastern European Flank, commanded by Colonel Andrés González Alvarado.

Robles stressed that this mission highlights Spain's "clear and firm" commitment to the Atlantic Alliance. "Spain's leaders are the best manifestation of that commitment to NATO. I am sure that your role is going to be exceptional," the minister said of the mission, which, with 750 soldiers deployed in the Lest area, is currently Spain's largest abroad.

"Moral high ground"

Minister Robles has also communicated with Brigadier General Guillermo García del Barrio, who from Lebanon has referred to the instability in the area in the midst of an upsurge in tensions between Israel and the Hezbollah militia. The General highlighted the exhaustive preparation that the contingent undertook prior to its arrival in Lebanon to take part in this UNIFIL mission.

"We are very reassured by his words and his high morale in such a complicated and difficult context," said the minister, who received news about the different levels of protection under which the Spanish military works on a daily basis. "I want to convey my pride in the work you are doing in such a turbulent situation, we can never thank you enough for what you do".

The 'Aragón' I Brigade, under the command of General García del Barrio, took over the Lebanese Brigade (BRILIB XLI) in Sector East in May, as part of the UN's 'blue line' monitoring mission in the border area between Israel and Lebanon. Spain has 670 soldiers deployed in Lebanon, the majority of whom since the changeover at the end of May belong to the 'Aragón' I Brigade. The Multinational Brigade East, which Spain leads, is made up of some 3,500 troops of nine different nationalities.

Non official translation