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Spain's envoy to UK resigns amid outcry over plane crash

MADRID — Spain's ambassador to the United Kingdom resigned Thursday amid increasing calls for him to be sacked over his handling of 75 deaths in a 2003 crash of a military jet.

Ambassador Federico Trillo said he decided to step down "in order not to interfere with the government's work."

Trillo was chosen for the London job by the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in 2012. He was Spain's defence minister when a Yak-42 aircraft crashed in Northeast Turkey in 2003, killing 62 Spanish soldiers returning from a mission in Afghanistan and 13 crew members from Ukraine and Belarus.

Rajoy's cabinet has acknowledged a high-level report that recently blamed Trillo's ministry for not ensuring the safety of troops in air transportation.

In remarks in London aired by Spanish public broadcaster TVE, Trillo said he already was planning to leave as part of a major reshuffle of diplomatic postings, but was resigning early so as not to be an impediment.

Trillo's brief remarks didn't mention the crash and he didn't take questions.

Relatives of the victims, opposition parties and retired diplomats had called for the government to dismiss him since the State Council published its report in late December.