Dubya leaves Zapatero hanging by the telephone

20th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

20 January 2005, MADRID-Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he is aware that his policies since taking office, especially those concerning Iraq, have irked US President George W Bush.

20 January 2005

MADRID-Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he is aware that his policies since taking office, especially those concerning Iraq, have irked US President George W Bush.

"I can understand that President Bush has been upset by the decisions taken by my government," Zapatero said in his first televised interview since becoming prime minister in April of last year.

"I withdrew Spanish troops (from Iraq) because that was the wish of Spaniards and because the decision went along 100 percent with my own beliefs."

He said he nonetheless hoped to entertain warm relations with Bush as he embarks on his second term in office on Thursday.

"Lately I have picked up some positive signals, especially coming from the new secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who spoke of a new era of dialogue, rather than monologue," Zapatero said.

He added that the Bush administration had also admitted that no weapons of mass destruction had been discovered in Iraq contrary to assertions made by the previous Spanish government headed by Jose Maria Aznar.

When asked whether Bush had answered his call when he telephoned to congratulate him on his re-election as US president in November, Zapatero tried to skirt the issue.

But when pressed about whether Bush had failed to speak with him he told his interviewer: "You guessed right."

Relations between Washington and Madrid deteriorated after Zapatero took office, especially after his decision to uphold his electoral promise of pulling Spanish troops from Iraq.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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