Spanish PM to meet Obama on 13 October

20th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama will host Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero next month for the Spanish leader's first official White House visit.

Washington - US President Barack Obama will host Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero next month for the Spanish leader's first official White House visit.

"The president looks forward to consulting with President Zapatero on a broad range of strategic issues," the White House said in a statement, setting the date for the talks as 13 October.

They include "implementing our shared strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, working together to promote the global economic recovery and food security, and advancing our goals with regard to Iran, Middle East peace efforts, and climate change."

Zapatero had a frosty relationship with Obama's predecessor George W. Bush, whom he angered by withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq immediately after his election in 2004.

The troops had been sent by Zapatero's conservative predecessor Jose Maria Aznar.

Zapatero met Obama on the sidelines of the US-EU summit in Prague in April. At the time the Spanish PM said the meeting opened "a new era in relations" between their two countries.

Spanish Economy Minister Elena Salgado said Zapatero and Obama would discuss the global economic crisis, renewable energy in which several Spanish companies are world leaders, and the Spanish presidency of the European Union during the first half of 2010.

The strengthening of transatlantic relations, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Latin America, will also be on the agenda, she added.

Last week the Spanish government agreed to send 220 more troops to Afghanistan, raising the total to about 1,000 to help NATO-led forces boost security in the war-ravaged nation.

Washington has been urging its allies to send more soldiers to Afghanistan to battle a resurgent Taliban.

AFP/Expatica

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