Zapatero in plea over Middle East

9th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

9 September 2004, TUNIS - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called on the world community Thursday to take urgent steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iraq crisis.

9 September 2004

TUNIS - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero called on the world community Thursday to take urgent steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iraq crisis.

After strongly condemning the wave of hostage-taking in Iraq, he said: "These events are part of a picture in which the world community and the United Nations must reflect on and agree on urgent political steps with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the situation in Iraq."

He stressed the "imperative need " to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian question.

"It can't go on. In the absence of a dialogue, every day we are losing years of peace," said the Spanish leader, who is on an official visit to Tunisia, said as he gave a rundown of his talks here.

Zapatero underscored the need to "return (full) sovereignty to the Iraqi people as soon as possible, noting that "the US-led military intervention has proved totally negative."

The US-led coalition which ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein turned over power to an interim Iraqi government on June 28.

But US forces and Iraqi government forces are facing dogged armed resistance from Shiite and Sunni rebels. Already 1,000 US troops have died in Iraq.

Zapatero, who won a general election in March, withdrew the 1,400 Spanish troops from Iraq within weeks of formally taking power in April, in line with a key electoral pledge.

"The future of world security must involve a multilateral vision," the Spanish leader added, referring to "international legality, dialogue between cultures and religions, the fight against poverty and to development."

He also reaffirmed the commitment of Spain and Europe to develop closer ties with
North African countries as part of efforts to revive dialogue and cooperation between Mediterranean states and Europe next year.

"Dialogue with the Arab world is part of (Madrid's) goals," he added.

"Spain is duty-bound to relaunch cooperation with countries south of Europe and that's what we are going to do."
  
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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