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Country Requests Exclusion From Iraq War Coalition

May 26, 2006

The Foreign Ministry has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice requesting – for the second time – that Costa Rica’s name be eliminated from any and all lists of countries that support the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno told journalists at a press conference Wednesday. He said the ministry also sent its request to the U.S. Embassy in San José.

Last week, the Legislative Assembly voted unanimously to support a motion presented by Citizen Action Party (PAC) legislator Alberto Salom to request the removal of Costa Rica from all such lists displayed on the White House’s Web site, www.whitehouse.gov.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Elaine Samson told The Tico Times the list that contained Costa Rica’s name in support of the Iraq war was removed after Costa Rica’s initial request in late 2004, and the document that still lists its name is a dated press release from March 2003.

However, the government seeks to ensure all traces of Costa Rica’s support for the war are erased.

“The mandate was clear,” Stagno said at the press conference, referring to a 2004 ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) that Costa Rica’s inclusion in the “Coalition of the Willing” that supported the Iraq invasion is unconstitutional (TT, Sept. 10, 2004).

Former Foreign Minister Roberto Tovar sent a formal request to the U.S. government in 2004 to remove Costa Rica from the list, and a few weeks later the White House took the list off the Web site altogether (TT, Dec. 24, 2004).

Despite public opposition to the war, Costa Rica was added to the list in 2003 under the administration of ex-President Abel Pacheco (2002-2006), though Pacheco later insisted he did not support the war but the “citizens of an ally” (TT, June 18, 2004).

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