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Spain's president's Christmas message to troops abroad: “We're ending 2023 in a world full of conflict”
Thursday, December 28, 2023 @ 11:01 AM

'BRAVE' servicemen and women who will spend Christmas overseas are 'making Spain proud', president Pedro Sánchez assured them during his annual festive message via video-call.

Spanish Armed Forces personnel stationed in Latvia to protect Europe's eastern borders amid the conflict in Ukraine (photo: EFE)

Along with defence minister Margarita Robles and head of State for defence Teodoro Esteban López Calderón, the socialist (PSOE) leader spoke to many of the 12,054 troops posted abroad to wish them a merry Christmas, mindful of the fact that they were a long way from their families and that military duty did not stop for the Yuletide holiday.

An annual tradition, Spain's president always speaks live to soldiers serving outside the country to thank them for their personal sacrifices in the name of national security.

“In the name of Spanish society, we thank you all for the work you are carrying out beyond our borders in the quest for what we all wish for – world peace and stability,” Sánchez told the soldiers.

“Just a few days ago, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Your professionalism, your brave attitude in facing the challenges that arise in the course of duty on your missions, are a source of pride for all Spaniards – and, we have to tell you, of admiration, too.”

Sánchez referred to the 'colossal and formidable efforts' of those on Spanish overseas missions, largely in Lebanon, Latvia, Mali, and on the frigate Victoria based in the Indian Ocean.

Spain is involved in missions designed to protect Europe and the European Atlantic in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has led to soldiers being deployed this year in eastern border countries which are EU member States, such as Latvia, Estonia and Romania.

“We're ending 2023 in a world embroiled in numerous conflicts,” Spain's president recalled, “which, even here in Europe, are having a huge impact on the daily lives of ordinary residents.”

He described the Ukraine invasion, which began in February 2022, as a 'brutal conflict' that has 'already passed the 670 mark' of 'death, suffering and destruction'.

“More recently, the conflict in Gaza has turned our lives, our conscience, upside-down – those of the entire international community,” Sánchez added.


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