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Zapatero goes on diplomatic tour

Published on 22/04/2004

22 April 2004

MADRID – Spain’s new prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is to visit Paris and Berlin on a tour of Europe, it was confirmed Thursday.

The state visits will happen after the Spanish premier has visited Morocco this Saturday for talks on terrorism and illegal immigration.

He is expected to arrive in the French and German capitals early next week.

Zapatero will then go to Lisbon, Rome and London to meet other heads of state.

The premier told journalists as he attended the official opening of the legislature Thursday that he hoped the tour would help relations with other countries in Europe.

Zapatero wants to improve relations with France and Germany and bring Spain closer to Europe’s two main powers instead of allying with the the United States.

Jose Maria Aznar, the former prime minister, wanted to bring Spain close to the Bush administration.

The former premier’s support for the Iraq campaign was a symbol of this close relationship, despite widespread feeling in Spain against this move.

The new Socialist government wants to distance Madrid from Washington and its decision to withdraw troops from Iraq has been seen as a symbol of this move.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news