Dawn of new era of US-EU relations: Zapatero

23rd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

23 February 2005, BRUSSELS-Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he hoped meetings between European leaders and President George W Bush marked a new chapter in transatlantic relations.

23 February 2005

BRUSSELS-Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he hoped meetings between European leaders and President George W Bush marked a new chapter in transatlantic relations.

"I am confident that today marks the beginning of a new phase," he told a press conference after the EU-US summit.

The Spanish prime minister said he had cordial exchanges with Bush, who greeted him in Spanish.

In a brief exchange, Bush asked: "Hola, que tal amigo?" (How are you?)

Zapatero answered in Spanish: "Muy bien, y tu?" (Good, and you)

Zapatero raised the ire of Washington when he withdrew Spain's troops from Iraq after coming to power in April 2004.

His predecessor, Jose Maria Aznar had been one of Bush's main backers during the war in Iraq, which caused deep rifts between the US and some European countries.

On a major charm offensive in Europe, Bush has been seeking to lay aside past differences with European allies opposed to the war.

Zapatero said: "A relation of understanding and cooperation between Europe and the United States is key for maintaining peace and security in the world."

He said Tuesday's summits between European leaders and Bush were "a step in the right direction."

"From today the will to reinforce the bridges between Europe and the United States increased.

"And so that those bridges are solid, there needs to be two balanced pillars on each side of the Atlantic," said Zapatero.

On the future of NATO, Zapatero said it was "clear" the alliance needed to be adapted to the security needs of the modern world.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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