In an interview with the Italian daily, “Corriere de la Sera,” just days after Spanish President Jose Luis Zapatero announced the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq, Cardinal Renato Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said to abandon Iraq now would be imprudent.
“It is imprudent to leave Iraq because it would mean abandoning the country to civil war,” said the Cardinal. He said that now “everybody supports multilateralism and the role of the United Nations, which is what the Pope had said but which everybody ignored.” The cardinal said he does not agree with the decision of the Spanish government to immediately withdraw its forces from Iraq. “The new Spanish government has to keep its campaign promises, but there is a time to keep promises,” he said. “Troops could be withdrawn now and brought back later under the UN flag, but it is obvious that continuity is needed,” he added.
Cardinal Martino underscored that it is not convenient “to hurry the UN, since it could not take responsibility for the Iraqi situation before June 30.” “The UN needs time to draft a new resolution. Patient and continuous negotiations are needed,” the Cardinal concluded.