Was King trying to thaw relations with US?

13th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 January 2005, MADRID-King Juan Carlos said that relations with the United States were a "fundamental point of reference in foreign relations" for Spain.

13 January 2005

MADRID-King Juan Carlos said that relations with the United States were a "fundamental point of reference in foreign relations" for Spain.

In a speech to foreign diplomats in Madrid, the king's comments appeared to be another attempt to thaw Spain's damaged relations with US President George W Bush's administration.

Last November, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia visited Bush at his ranch for Thanksgiving in a effort to improve relations.

The visit by Juan Carlos came after difficulties in US-Spanish ties caused by the war in Iraq.

Relations between Washington and Madrid went gone downhill after Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero withdrew Spanish soldiers deployed beside US troops in Iraq, weeks after taking office in April.

The decision to withdraw from Iraq went down particularly badly with Bush, who had an excellent working relationship with Zapatero's predecessor, conservative Jose Maria Aznar, who lost the March election.

Bush, a few days after his re-election, opened the White House for a personal visit from Aznar, now living in Washington, but ignored Zapatero's phone calls offering congratulations on the 2 November victory.

Meanwhile, in his speech King Juan Carlos said he appreciated what the immigrants to Spain had contributed to make their new home a better place.

He expressed the wish that their integration would be as easy as possible but said Spain would continue to fight those gangs which trafficked in illegal immigrants.
The king appealed for international cooperation "to combat the ills of the modern age, terrorism, hunger, sickness, ignorance, human rights violations and natural disasters".

"United we can confront the worst challenges of our times. United we can also develop indispensable stability to promote democracy, assure peace and progress," he added. 

The king said 2004 had been a year marked by brutal terrorist attacks including the bombings in Madrid, in which 191 people were killed, and the kidnapping of children at a school in Beslan in Russia.

He said thanked the international community for the support Spain received after the terrorist attacks and said in the pain afterwards the support of the international community was a "comfort".

He expressed his condolences from all Spaniards for the victims of the tsunami disaster.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news


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