Spain pushes for inclusion in crisis summit
Zapatero seeks backing of Lula and US election candidates.24 October 2008
MADRID - Spain has embarked on a global search for support in its frantic bid to attend an international conference on the international financial crisis scheduled to take place in Washington on November 14 and 15.
A day after a US government spokesperson said the format chosen for the event was the G20, a group of industrialised and major industrialising countries of which Spain is not a member, Spanish officials said they had sought the backing of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose country currently holds the term presidency of the international body.
The appeal was apparently made and accepted on 13 October, when Lula visited Spain and is set to be reiterated again next week when Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero meets with the Brazilian leader at the Iberoamerican Summit in San Salvador.
Spain hopes that Lula will expand the list of invited countries beyond those in the G20.
In the meantime, Zapatero has also sought the backing of China. The Spanish leader is attending an Asia-Europe conference in Beijing today where he is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Diplomatic sources said Spain is also pushing for the backing of US presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, as the conference will take place after the November 4 election.
Spanish officials say attending the conference is not merely a matter of "national pride," but argue that, as the world's eighth-largest economy, Spain has a major contribution to make.
The conference, one of several planned over the coming months, was initially suggested by French President Nicolas Sarkozy with the goal of "reforming the international financial system".
[El Pais / Miguel Gonzalez / Expatica]