Expatica news

Relations thaw as Moratinos plans US trip

10 February 2005

MADRID – Spain hailed a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the start of a thaw in relations between Madrid and Washington.

After a brief meeting in Brussels, Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos announced he will soon visit Washington, offering a first sign that tensions may be easing in the strained relations between the two governments.

Relations between Washington and Madrid went downhill after Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero withdrew Spanish soldiers deployed beside US troops in Iraq, weeks after taking office in April.

The decision to withdraw from Iraq went down particularly badly with Bush, who had an excellent working relationship with Zapatero’s predecessor, conservative Jose Maria Aznar, who lost the March election.

Bush, a few days after his re-election, opened the White House for a personal visit from Aznar, now living in Washington, but ignored Zapatero’s phone calls offering congratulations on the 2 November victory.

In an effort to repair relations, Zapatero has agreed to train Iraqi police in Spain.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news