Madrid denies moves for bi-lateral meeting with Bush

22nd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

22 February 2005, BRUSSELS-Spain's foreign minister said Madrid "neither sought nor negotiated for" a one-on-one meeting between Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and President George W Bush during the US-EU gathering in Brussels.

22 February 2005

BRUSSELS-Spain's foreign minister said Madrid "neither sought nor negotiated for" a one-on-one meeting between Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and President George W Bush during the US-EU gathering in Brussels.

Zapatero flew to the Belgian capital on Monday for a meeting between European leaders and the US president.

But Zapatero is unlikely to get more than a fleeting meeting with Bush.

"It has already been said many times that no bilateral meeting with the president of the United States has been sought, nor negotiated nor attempted," Miguel Angel Moratinos said at a press conference following a meeting of European Union foreign ministers.

Zapatero and Bush "will speak as (people) speak in the hallways", but underscored that "no bilateral meeting" is planned apart from the summit.

"The meetings will happen in good time. I don't think there's any hurry or urgency," added Moratinos.

"It's just that we have a schedule and will logically work it out as usual between two partners and allies who enjoy good relations and are going to keep strengthening them."

Moratinos pointed out that he himself plans to visit the United States in April and noted the possibility that his staff and that of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may finalise schedules and decide on a specific date for the visit on Tuesday.

Relations between Washington and Madrid have been cool since Zapatero's Socialist government came to power last April.

One of the new Spanish premier's first moves was to announce the withdrawal of Spain's 1,300 troops from Iraq in fulfilment of a campaign promise.

The preceding conservative administration in Madrid was one of the most steadfast European supporters of the US invasion of that Middle Eastern country.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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