Spanish PM defends immigrant amnesty decision, contradicts French PM
Spanish PM defends immigrant amnesty, contradicts French PM
MADRID, Aug 28, 2007 (AFP) - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Tuesday he did not regret a massive 2005 immigrant amnesty, despite claims to the contrary by his French counterpart.
During an interview with French television station TF1 on Sunday, France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Zapatero "bitterly regretted" his decision to regularize some 600,000 illegal immigrants in Spain and was "committed not to doing it again".
But Zapatero told reporters on Tuesday that Fillon had misinterpreted his words and the French government would soon issue a "clarification" regarding the French prime minister's statements.
The regularization of immigrants in Spain was "necessary" and has proven to be "positive", the Spanish prime minister added.
Zapatero and Fillon held talks in Madrid on July 27. It was the first meeting between the two since Fillon was appointed prime minister in May.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos meanwhile called the immigrant amnesty a "success" and a "model" when asked about Fillon's comments by reporters.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy criticized Spain's immigrant amnesty several times at the end of 2006 and in early 2007 when he was France's interior minister.
Subject: French news