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Spanish ex Diplomat in Iraq Punished for Disagreeing with Madrid

Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio has given orders to take action against Spanish former diplomat in Iraq Fernando Valderrama for his statements against the war in Iraq. He will be barred from his office for eight months for "discipline violations and statements in the press".

Last October Valderrama refused to work in Baghdad displaying his disagreement with Spain's policy on the Iraqi problem. He was "forced to choose between Bush and Hussein" while he "agreed with none of them", Valderrama said. This act of the respected diplomat caused a great stir in the country. The "disobedient" diplomat became famous many years ago, when he sacrificed his career refusing to work for Franco's regime.

After his return from Baghdad, Valderrama continued to speak against the government's policy towards Iraq. At the end of March he announced a strike and promised to continue it until the Spanish government ceased to support the war in Iraq.

The diplomat pointed out that last October the Spanish Foreign Ministry deemed the proposed attack against Iraq in order to topple Saddam Hussein as "contradicting to law". Thus, Valderrama maintains that the Spanish government violated its own decision and made "a state coup in the international sphere".