Relations thaw as Zapatero is set to meet Bush

13th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 July 2005, MADRID — In a move designed to thaw the still frosty relations between Madrid and Washington, the Spanish prime minister agreed with the new United States ambassador there were many areas of common areas of interest between the countries.

13 July 2005

MADRID — In a move designed to thaw the still frosty relations between Madrid and Washington, the Spanish prime minister agreed with the new United States ambassador there were many areas of common areas of interest between the countries.

In his first meeting with Eduardo Aguirre, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero spoke privately with the US envoy for more than an hour and 15 minutes.

Spanish government sources told EFE that the atmosphere at the meeting was "very cordial and very sincere" and conducted completely in Spanish, in which the Cuban-born US envoy is fluent.

Aguirre expressed his desire to get to know Spain very well, "its intentions, rationales and positions" in various areas and, together with Zapatero, he stated that there were many areas of common interest in which the two nations could work together.

Sources emphasized the speed with which the new US ambassador was named and posted to Spain after the re-election of President George W Bush, calling it proof of the importance Washington attaches to its relations with Madrid.

Since his arrival here, the US diplomat has expressed his gratitude for the reception accorded him in Spain and has placed special emphasis on the existing collaboration between the two countries in areas such as security.

In addition, he has stressed the importance of scheduling a meeting in the very near future between Zapatero and Bush, saying that he does not believe that type of gesture is evidence of how relations between the two nations stand.

Bilateral ties have been strained since the Socialist Zapatero took office in April 2005 and promptly fulfilled a election campaign promise by ordering the withdrawal of Spain's roughly 1,300 troops from Iraq.

The contingent was sent to the Middle East by conservative premier Jose Maria Aznar, Bush's staunchest supporter in Continental Europe.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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