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Spain's Decision Not to Send Warship to Persian Gulf Vexes US Embassy - Reports

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MADRID (Sputnik) - The US Embassy hit out at Madrid for failing to notify it about Spain's decision to pull its frigate from a US Navy strike group heading for the Persian Gulf, Spanish diplomats told reporters on Wednesday.

Spanish diplomatic sources said US embassy staff met with Foreign Ministry officials in Madrid on Tuesday, while Spanish diplomats in Washington briefed the US administration. The US diplomatic mission was concerned that Spain had failed to warn both embassies about its plans. Only the Pentagon was notified. The US Embassy stopped short of filing a formal complaint.

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Sailors stand watch on the brow of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Bainbridge while the ship follows the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln into the Strait of Gibraltar in the Atlantic Ocean, April 13, 2019. Picture taken on April 13, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Washington announced on 5 May it was sending the USS Abraham Lincoln and its combat group, which includes Spain's Mendez Nunez frigate, to the Persian Gulf to counter an unspecified threat from Iran.

Spanish Acting Defence Minister Margarita Robles supported the decision to recall the warship on Tuesday, saying this deployment deviated from the group's initial mission, according to El Pais daily. She said the frigate would rejoin the task force once it enters the Indian Ocean.

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