Expatica news

Queen expresses sorrow over Madrid bombs

11 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — Queen Beatrix offered her condolences to Spain’s King Juan Carlos following the horrific bomb explosions in Madrid, the Government Information Service (RVD) said on Thursday.

She also offered condolences to the victims and their relatives.  Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende expressed shock at the bombings. He was expected later on Thursday to telephone his Spanish colleague, Jose Maria Aznar, to offer his condolences.

The Spanish and Dutch royal houses enjoy friendly relations and Spanish Crown Prince Felipe attended the February 2002 wedding of Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima.

Felipe will marry television journalist Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano on 22 May and it is considered highly likely that Willem-Alexander and Maxima will attend, Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

Arrested suspects have allegedly admitted the banned Basque separatist group ETA is planning to hinder the planned wedding by bombing power pylons.

And the Spanish government has blamed ETA for Thursday’s attacks, which killed at least 198 people as three Madrid train stations were targeted by a string of explosions. The bombings come ahead of Sunday’s elections, BBC reported.

The leader of the Basque radical political party Batasuna — which is banned due to its links with ETA — said he could not imagine that the attack is the work of ETA. Instead, Arnaldo Otegi pointed the finger at “Arabic resistance” movements, Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news