• U.S.

Spain: Nailing Down The Bases

1 minute read

After some two years of bargaining, the U.S. and Spain last week finally reached an agreement extending the U.S. lease on four military bases on Spanish soil. Under the accord worked out by U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Spanish Foreign Minister Francisco Fernandez Ordonez, the U.S. retains access to the bases for eight years. The current pact expired in May.

A major sticking point was Spain’s insistence that the U.S. be prohibited from bringing nuclear arms onto Spanish territory; Washington refuses to disclose whether its ships or aircraft carry nuclear weapons. The deadlock was finally broken when Spain tacitly agreed to renounce its right to inspect U.S. vessels.

The U.S. had earlier agreed to withdraw 72 F-16 fighters from Torrejon Air Base outside Madrid, and will probably abandon the base. Under the new pact, Spain is giving up all the guarantees of specific levels of U.S. aid contained in previous bases agreements. Last year military aid alone came to $400 million.

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