Bush invited to mark massacre anniversary
1 February 2005, MADRID - The Madrid Club of former Spanish heads of state has invited US President George W Bush to mark the first anniversary of the 11 March terrorist bombings.
1 February 2005
MADRID - The Madrid Club of former Spanish heads of state has invited US President George W Bush to mark the first anniversary of the 11 March terrorist bombings.
The move could be seen as an effort to try to boost the poor relations between Spain and the US, which have not improved since the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq last year soon after the present Socialist government came to power.
It also came as the Spanish daily El Pais reported Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero was considering changing tack on Iraq in order to lift the chill on US-relations.
Zapatero is not thought to be considering re-deploying Spanish troops, but suggesting some aid to Iraq in order to thaw relations with the US.
The Madrid Club has also invited heads of other EU countries and the 15 members of the UN Security Council.
They include Vladamir Putin, the Russian premier, Hu Jintao, the Chinese head of state, the Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian premier.
UN Secretary General Kofi Anan is known to be attending the ceremony in Madrid to mark what was Spain´s worst terrorist atrocity in which 191 people were killed and 1,500 injured when ten bombs went off on four commuter trains.
Islamic extremists were behind the series of devastating attacks. So far, 100 people have been arrested in connection with the terrorist attacks.
Spain is not among the countries on US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice´s forthcoming tour of Nato countries between 3-10 February.
Bush is also coming to Europe later this month, but is not expected to meet Zapatero.
The Madrid Club works to improve international understanding and is separate from the national government.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news