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Aznar attacks Zapatero over Madrid bombings

11 April 2005

MADRID – Former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar accused his successor of lying over the events after the Madrid bombings.

In an interview,  Aznar said Socialist prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero “transgressed all moral and legal boundaries to get the Popular Party (PP) out of power”.
Aznar was referring to the events which led to his party, the conservative PP, losing the general election three days after the Madrid bombings on 11 March last year.
Aznar defended his government’s handling of Madrid terrorist attacks, in which nearly 200 people were killed.

With clear reference to the Socialists, he argued that “the ones who have to be worried about 11 March are the ones who staged the manipulation”.

The former prime minister has always claimed that the attacks were intended to influence the outcome of Spain’s general elections, held three days later, in which his conservative PP lost power after eight years in office.

Meanwhile, he said he did not plan to return to politics.

“I don’t miss the government and I don’t plan to return to active politics,” Aznar told the La Razon newspaper.

The interview was the first granted by Aznar since leaving office last year.

The former prime minister is currently promoting his memoir, ‘Retratos y perfiles’ (‘Portraits and Profiles’).

Aznar wrote about some of the people he met in political life, including US President George W Bush, who he says “did not at all like the idea that I was leaving politics”.

Aznar and British prime minister Tony Blair were Bush’s staunchest allies in the war on Iraq.

The former Spanish prime minister praised Blair’s ‘Third Way’ approach of pragmatic, centrist politics, arguing that “modern societies must be governed from the centre”.

Aznar said that the war to oust Saddam Hussein from Iraq “was a clear expression of Spain’s return to the highest level of international decision making”.

Aznar praised Bush’s “capacity and willingness to lead”, noting that he and the US president spoke “so frequently that we ended up installing a special phone in the Moncloa (Palace, the seat of Spain’s government,) just to talk to the White House”.

“Now, since the telephones no longer ring, they’re probably already removed it,” Aznar said, referring to the strained relations between Madrid and Washington under his successor, Zapatero.

Relations deteriorated after Zapatero, fulfilling a campaign promise, withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq last year in spite of the Bush administration’s protests.

Aznar also mentioned some Latin American leaders, including Colombian president Alvaro Uribe, who “thinks that all terrorism is the same”.

Of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Aznar said, “We only spoke two hours. Spending six hours with Castro would bore me.”
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news