Zapatero in row with US over Iraq remarks
14 September 2004, MADRID- Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was at the centre of a diplomatic row with the United States over comments he made over pulling troops out of Iraq, it emerged Tuesday.
14 September 2004
MADRID- Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was at the centre of a diplomatic row with the United States over comments he made over pulling troops out of Iraq, it emerged Tuesday.
US diplomats in Madrid said they had asked for a clarification of his remarks in the form of a transcript.
The sources said Washington had asked for the transcript "so there can be no misunderstanding" after Zapatero justified his decision to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq shortly after taking office.
Zapatero told reporters during a visit to Tunis last week that "if more decisions were taken along the lines of (that) taken by the Spanish government, that would open up a more favourable prospect" of peace in Iraq.
Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos confirmed the US demand for a transcript, telling Spanish broadcaster TVE that Washington had "asked for clarification and the exact transcript of the text."
Moratinos took the opportunity to call for exclusively political solutions to defeat terrorism, stressing that Spain wanted to "work together (with its allies) in the struggle against terrorism and demonstrate its solidarity in this common battle."
He added that Zapatero, in stressing his belief that the US-led occupation of Iraq was fuelling instability, was simply maintaining his view that solving such conflicts required "more politics and less military action."
Since April, when Zapatero, Socialist party leader, replaced conservative predecessor Jose Maria Aznar, a strong US ally over Iraq, Spain has placed itself solidly in the anti-war camp and cemented ties with EU heavyweights France and Germany, which also opposed the conflict.
As a result, the close personal ties which Aznar enjoyed with US President George W. Bush have given way to a frostier atmosphere, although US sources said it was normal that "relationships take time to build" with a new government.
"We have lots of things to work on together," said diplomatic sources who supported
Spain's contribution to the UN missions in Afghanistan and Haiti.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news