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Thursday, 20 September, 2001, 22:37 GMT 23:37 UK
Spain allows US to use bases
Madrid demonstration for victims of the US attacks
In Madrid, thousands took part in a show of support
Spain has offered the United States unconditional use of military bases on Spanish territory in any planned retaliation for last week's attacks on New York and Washington.

The move follows a formal request from the US Government, reported the Spanish news agency Efe.

Meanwhile in the Spanish capital, Madrid, thousands of people have taken part in a demonstration of solidarity with the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

F16 Fighters
US planes could launch raids from bases in Spain
The Spanish Government has said that after suffering nearly three decades of terrorism by the Basque separatist group, ETA, the people of Spain feel a particular sympathy with those who lost their loved ones.

However, BBC correspondent Flora Botsford says there is also concern among many people that America must be very clear who is being targeted in any planned military response and why.


In a statement, the Spanish Government said that the US request was made "in the framework of, and in accordance with, what is envisaged in the Defence Cooperation Agreement signed by Spain and the United States".

Madrid demonstration
Many people want the US to be careful in who it targets

However, the United Left party has insisted on a full parliamentary debate before Spain commits itself further, and for the involvement of the United Nations.

Ahead of Friday's emergency meeting of EU leaders, Spain's Interior Minister, Mariano Rajoy, said he hoped other European countries would work more closely together to fight terrrorism.

In particular, Spain wants European countries to create a single territory for the search and capture of criminal suspects, especially those wanted in connection with acts of terrorism.

The Spanish Government has been trying to raise interest in the idea for some time and hopes it will bear fruit during Spain's presidency of the EU in 2002 if not before.

See also:

20 Sep 01 | Americas
US plans wide-ranging response
20 Sep 01 | Americas
Europe plans assault on terrorism
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