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Cospedal praises troops preparing for combat in Lebanon
SPANISH troops are due to go out to Lebanon in the next few months, and defence minister María Dolores de Cospedal has expressed her overwhelming admiration for the national forces.
“It's not easy, being prepared to give your life in the name of duty,” she said.
“I want to express my respect and admiration for all our troops abroad, and pass on plenty of love and support to their families.”
Cospedal spoke of the 'honour, loyalty and service to duty' of members of the forces in conflict zones worldwide who will not be home for Christmas or the New Year.
“They honour our past in order to defend our future,” Cospedal declared, praising the 'balance' between 'tradition and modernity' displayed by the Armed Forces, whose work is 'fundamental' in order to 'guarantee the right to be defended and protected' – a right 'enjoyed by all Spaniards under the Constitution'.
“Spain enjoys some of the most modern and technologically-advanced defence units,” she revealed.
Cospedal appears to have found her political niche since she was placed in charge of the ministry of defence, having previously been deputy president to Mariano Rajoy and regional president of Castilla-La Mancha at the same time, and come in for a good deal of criticism over her perceived harshness and her rock-solid support of the party line when Rajoy and other PP members were accused of corruption and denied it publicly.
But the Armed Forces appear to have truly gelled with her, and she appears passionate about and compassionate towards Spain's service personnel.
Colonel in Chief of the Arapiles 62 Infantry, Javier Mur Lalaguna, has thanked her for her support lately, especially after 'some very difficult months' for those in the forces serving in Catalunya.
Cospedal recently attended the Barcelona ceremony for the 125th anniversary of the Immaculate Conception being named as the patron saint of the forces, on the bank holiday of December 8.
She met with General Lieutenant of the Army, Fernando Aznar Ladrón de Guevara, plus the National Police chief in Catalunya, Sebastián Trapote, and Colonel in Chief of the Guardia Civil in Barcelona, Mariano Martínez Luna, at the celebrations, where she gave a talk about the so-called 'Empel miracle' that eventually, centuries later, led to the Immaculate Conception's becoming the patron saint.
During the Flanders War in 1585, the much-reduced Spanish Army – down to a third of its members and fighting in very adverse conditions – found a buried altarpiece of the Virgin Mary on what is believed to have been December 8 of that year.
After finding the image, they went on to defeat a very powerful troop of Dutch rebels and break down their barriers.
Cospedal, along with Rajoy, will videoconference the troops abroad on Christmas Eve night for their annual festive tribute to them.
This will be the first time Cospedal has done so.
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