Expatica news

Zapatero makes deal withLatin America over Iraq

27 May 2004

MEXICO CITY – José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero announced Thursday an agreement with Mexico and Chile to work with other European governments to produce a new United Nations accord on Iraq.

The Spanish premier  made the joint announcement during a press conference with Mexican president Vicente Fox during his first visit to the country.

Zapatero is in Mexico for a European-Latin-American summit planned for Friday.

Zapatero also had talks with Chilean president, Richard Lagos, by telephone earlier this week.

He said they the three countries agreed to present a joint proposal to the US and Britain to “work together, cooperating”.

He said the Iraq conflict had provoked a “profound division” among countries within the UN.

Zapatero said that the UN was “our best opportunity” and perhaps the “only guarantee of a future” because there was no international order without multilateral cooperation.

“If there is not multilateral cooperation, you will have international disorder” warned Zapatero.

This was Zapatero’s  first meeting with Fox.

He was appearing before the Mexican senate Thursday, meet several political leaders and businessmen from both countries.

On Friday, Zapatero will travel to Guadalajara to attend the summit.

Zapatero’s visit to Mexico marks a drastic shift from the last summit.

This time new Socialist prime minister made it clear Madrid was not anyone’s messenger but wanted to prioritise Latin America in its trans-Atlantic ties.

Zapatero, invited to Mexico by Fox right after taking office last month, wants Spain’s relations with South America to be more than just looking out for the interests of the powerful Spanish firms that have extensive investments in the region.

The approach is markedly different from that of  former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, who was criticised for focusing single-mindedly on economics in dealing with Latin American.

Zapatero will be received by Fox at the presidential residence, Los Pinos, in an atmosphere expected to be much more relaxed than that of Aznar’s last visit, which was dominated by differences of opinion on the Iraq crisis just as the United States was preparing for military intervention.

On that occasion, in February 2003, Aznar made a brief stopover in Mexico en route to a meeting with George W Bush on the US president’s Texas ranch.

Fox said later that the then-Spanish prime minister tried to convince him to vote in the UN Security Council in favour of a resolution authorising the invasion of Iraq.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news