Call me Hillary, Clinton tells Spanish foreign minister
In a bid to ease communication, the Spanish foreign minister and the new US Secretary of State will call each others by their first names.
MADRID – Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said Thursday that he and new US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had agreed to call each other by their first names as they work to improve bilateral ties.
"We agreed to call each other Miguel and Hillary to ease communication and will now seek a moment to have a first meeting. We will study our agendas," he told reporters after a telephone conversation with Clinton.
"She demonstrated the desire to strengthen and intensify bilateral relations to the maximum," the minister said, adding their conversation was "short but extremely cordial and satisfactory".
Moratinos said Clinton expressed the desire to work with Spain on issues regarding the Middle East. Spain has traditionally enjoyed strong ties with Arab states and Moratinos is a former European Union envoy to the Middle East.
Last week Moratinos said relations between Madrid and Washington, which were frosty under George W. Bush, could make a "qualitative leap" now that Barack Obama was president of the United States.
"Obama gives us hope and his words put us on a better path for a smooth and
fruitful relationship with the Spanish government. The arrival of Obama gives us an opportunity we won't pass up," he said after Obama was sworn in.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero angered the US by withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq immediately after being elected for his first term in March 2004.
Ties between Spain and the United States were further strained by Madrid's policy of holding political dialogue with Cuba.
Under Bush, Washington continued its long-standing policy of trying isolate the Communist island-state. Obama has been more open to dialogue.