Spanish PM hails Obama's 'positive' inauguration speech
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero welcomed new US President Barack Obama's inauguration speech on Tuesday as "very positive."MADRID -- "It was... one which leaves intact hopes of seeing a fairer international order, of seeing dialogue and peace gaining ground in the face of conflict," Zapatero said in a statement.
"Obama gives us hope and his words put us on a better path for a smooth and fruitful relationship with the Spanish government," he added. "The arrival of Obama gives us an opportunity we won't pass up."
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said relations between Madrid and Washington, which were cool under George W. Bush, could make a "qualitative leap" with Obama as president.
"With Obama we have very good prospectives, which are full of hope," he told Catalunya Radio on Tuesday.
Zapatero angered the US by withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq immediately after being elected for his first term in March 2004.
Ties between Spain and the United States were further strained by Madrid's policy of holding political dialogue with Cuba. Washington wants to isolate the Communist island-state.