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Hagel Praises Spain in Meeting With Defense Minister

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 5, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes in Brussels today during a conference of NATO defense ministers, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Little said Hagel praised Spain for its critical support for a number of U.S. national security priorities and for its role as a NATO ally, and that he expressed his appreciation for Spain's support and sacrifices in Afghanistan.

"Secretary Hagel also noted that because of Spain's agreement to host four Aegis ships at Rota, the alliance is significantly boosting its combined naval capabilities in the Mediterranean, which will offer increased opportunities to partner on exercises, training, and maritime operations, and ultimately enhance both regional and global security,” Little said.

In addition, the press secretary said, Hagel thanked Morenes for Spain’s recent agreement to host a U.S. Marine crisis response unit for at least a year. That, he added, will allow the United States to provide rapid and responsive support as needed to U.S. embassy staff in the U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Central Command areas of responsibility.

The two defense leaders agreed that their staffs will continue to seek ways to broaden and deepen the bilateral defense relationship between the United States and Spain, Little said.


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