Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced concern today at terrorists claiming credit for the change of government in Spain, saying it boded badly for the war against terrorism.
“The fact that international terrorism claims credit for a sudden change of government in Spain sets an extremely bad precedent,” Putin said in Moscow.
An al-Qaida linked Moroccan terror cell has been the focus of suspicion for the commuter train bombings in Madrid which killed 190 people and injured more than 1,800 others.
Many Spaniards have accused Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar of provoking the bombings by supporting the US led war in Iraq, and his Popular Party lost the general election to the Socialists three days after the attack.
Their leader, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, pledged to withdraw the 1,300 Spanish troops from Iraq unless the UN takes control of the operations.
Some accused Zapatero of trying to appease terrorists if he goes ahead with this withdrawal plan.
Putin, who himself strongly criticised the war in Iraq, did not comment on Zapatero’s pledge to withdraw troops, but said terrorists mustn’t be allowed to claim success.
“That creates conditions under which international terrorism is gaining force,” Putin said in a speech before regional leaders of Russia’s North Caucasus region, which includes Chechnya.
“It’s continuing to blackmail Spain, urging it to take some steps or other. This is absolutely inadmissible.”
Putin has claimed that Russia is fighting international terrorists in Chechnya during the second war there in a decade and angrily dismissed proposals to negotiate a peace settlement, saying the rebels must be destroyed.