Zapatero hails new affinity with South America

28th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

28 January 2005, SANTIAGO-Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero hailed a "new affinity" between Latin America and Spain.

28 January 2005

SANTIAGO-Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero hailed a "new affinity" between Latin America and  Spain.

Zapatero's government, which came into office 10 months ago, has said that it wants to "reconstruct relations" with Latin America, where it believes Spain "lost ground" during the eight years that conservative Popular Party Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar was in office.

He said his government's foreign policy was focused on Latin America and it wanted to continue working decisively to give the region its own voice in the world.

Speaking at the European Union-Chile Economic Academic Forum in Santiago late on Thursday, Zapatero ended a five-day tour of South America that also took him to Brazil and Argentina.

He said Spain was the gateway for Chilean firms seeking to take advantage of opportunities in Europe and the Mediterranean region.

The Spanish prime minister also emphasized existing ties between Chile and Spain, as well as shared positions on political and economic matters.

He praised the Chilean government for fashioning a development strategy based on economic stability and openness to trade.

The prime minister noted the importance of the strategic partnership agreement signed nearly two years ago by the European Union and Chile, which he called a "milestone" in bilateral relations that has had a special impact in the trade arena.

Zapatero said Chile understood the importance of foreign investment and provided a legal framework that facilitated it and made the country more attractive than its direct competitors for these funds.

"Chile is an example of stability and economic discipline," said Zapatero.

He extended an invitation to small- and mid-sized Spanish firms to do business in the South American country.

Earlier Thursday, Zapatero had a working breakfast with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos and Uruguayan President-elect Tabare Vazquez.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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