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Zapatero to have showdown with Powell

23 March 2004

MADRID – José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spain’s new premier, is to meet US Secretary of State Colin Powell for talks on the future of  Iraq, it was announced Tuesday.

The two leaders will hold the meeting Wednesday as Spain holds state funerals for the 202 victims of the 11 March massacre in Madrid.

The Spanish Royal Family, all the country’s political leaders and heads of state from around the world will attend the ceremony in Madrid.

The move comes after Zapatero said if Iraq does not come under the control of the United Nations by 30 June, the 1,300 Spanish troops currently stationed there will be withdrawn.

Powell is the first representative of George W Bush’s government to hold talks with Zapatero, since the shock victory of the Socialist party in the general election on 14 March.

The meeting also comes after Powell said last week “now is not the moment” to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq.

Zapatero will also hold talks with British premier Tony Blair and the French president Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news