Washington, D.C., September 19, 2008 - El Salvador's Minister of Foreign Affairs told the Voice of America (VOA) today that her country's military contingent will remain in Iraq as long as necessary.
In an interview on the Spanish-language program Foro Interamericano, Marisol Argueta de Barillas said El Salvador is committed to the reconstruction of Iraq.
"El Salvador's presence in Iraq responds to the benefit that El Salvador derived from multinational support for our pacification and reconstruction in the early 1990s," she said.
Referring to Iraq, she said, "Our participation will continue in the sense of reconstruction and rebuilding of that nation. ... Our armed forces have been greatly valued as very professional soldiers. They have been very brave and done laudable work in Iraq."
El Salvador has 280 soldiers stationed in Iraq as part of the multinational force.
Argueta also discussed the 18th Ibero-American Summit, to be held October 29-31 in El Salvador. She said 17 countries have confirmed their attendance, but Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador have yet to commit. Argueta expressed her hope that regional tensions will not deter countries from participating in the summit.
Foro Interamericanois a live weekly program that examines issues of interest to Latin America, featuring news segments and interviews with high-level policymakers. It airs on Fridays at 1230-1330 UTC (8:30-9:30 a.m. EDT), with repeats, and is available at www.VOANoticias.com.
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