Demonstrators Gather In Madrid To Protest U.S. Confrontation With Libya With AM-Libya-US
MADRID, Spain (AP) _ The Spanish government recalled its ambassador to Libya for consultations Thursday, and 400 demonstrators gathered in the capital to protest U.S. actions in the Gulf of Sidra last month.
The protesters walked around Chamberi Square in downtown Madrid, carrying placards and demanding that the Mediterranean ″be a peace place.″
The demonstration, organized by pacifist and communist groups, ended without trouble.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Spanish government officials were upset that Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy reiterated his threat to attack Spain and other countries that provide support for the U.S. 6th Fleet.
The spokesman, Inocencio Arias, said Foreign Minister Francisco Fernandez Ordonez ordered Spain’s envoy to Libya, Ricardo Peidro Conde, to return to Madrid to explain Khadafy’s statements.
Arias said Khadafy repeated his threats at almost the same time that Fernandez Ordonez was telling Parliament he had received assurances from a Madrid-based Libyan diplomat that Libya would not attack Spain and was seeking ″the best of relations.′
Arias said the Libyan diplomat had earlier told Fernandez Ordonez that Khadafy’s threats to involve all of the Mediterranean in a war if the 6th Fleet attacked Libya was not meant as a threat against Spain.
The United States leases one naval base and three air force bases from NATO-member Spain under a 1953 military cooperation agreement.
In a related development, U.S. officials in Washington said Wednesday that plans had been canceled for the aircraft carrier Coral Sea to wrap up a six- month tour in the Mediterranean and leave the Spanish port of Malaga for home.
Sources said that decision was part of a plan to have at least two carriers in the Mediterranean in case President Reagan decides on a military strike against Libya.