Spanish parliament backs three-month operation in Libya
The Spanish parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly backed the country's participation in the international military intervention in Libya, which the government expects to last for up to three months, dpa reported.
Parliament endorsed the intervention with 336 votes. Only three legislators voted against it while one abstained.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Spanish fighter- bomber planes would participate in enforcing a no-fly zone above Libya for one month, and that the navy would help to maintain an arms embargo against Libya for three months.
Four Spanish F-18 bombers and a tanker plane are already participating in enforcing the no-fly zone. A frigate, a submarine and a maritime surveillance plane would help to make sure no weapons are taken to Libya, Zapatero said.
The operation will mobilize a total of about 500 Spanish soldiers.
Zapatero described the intervention as "legitimate" and as being based on humanitarian principles. The goal was not to oust Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi, but to "put an end to the killings of his people," the premier told parliament.
Far-left and Galician regionalist legislators criticized the intervention, saying it defended hidden geostrategic, political and economic interests.