US ambassador buries hatchet over Iraq pull-out

15th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 July 2005, MADRID — The new United States ambassador to Spain believes relations between the two countries are "good and improving" and considers friction over Madrid's withdrawal of its troops from Iraq "a thing of the past."

15 July 2005

MADRID — The new United States ambassador to Spain believes relations between the two countries are "good and improving" and considers friction over Madrid's withdrawal of its troops from Iraq "a thing of the past."

In an interview with EFE, Eduardo Aguirre went out of his way to convey to Spain's government and society a friendly attitude, one open to dialogue.

Since his arrival in Madrid 15 days ago, Aguirre said, he has not picked up any of the anti-Americanism said to be prevalent in Spain, though he does not doubt it exists, as the image some Spaniards have of the United States "does not conform to reality".

Aguirre described his meeting with prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Tuesday as "cordial, relaxed and wide-ranging".

The tensions that arose over Spain's pullout from Iraq are "a thing of the past," he added.

Cooperation in the war on terrorism is another one of Aguirre's priorities.

"Terrorism has neither flag, nor capital, nor uniform, nor country, and it is a cancer that must be eradicated," he said.

"We make no distinction between one terrorist and another," Aguirre replied when asked whether the United States distinguished between cooperation in the struggle against international terrorism and against the terrorism carried out by ETA in Spain.

As to Cuba, with which Spain's Socialist government has pushed a European rapprochement, the US envoy said his country champions a democratic, progressive future for the island.

Aguirre insisted that when he met with the prime minister on Tuesday he did not bring up the fact that at a military parade two years ago, Zapatero, then an opposition leader, did not stand up when the US flag went by.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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