Biden says Spain relationship goes beyond Kosovo
VINA DEL MAR, Chile |
VINA DEL MAR, Chile (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday his country's relationship with Spain went beyond disagreement over a Spanish decision to pull troops out of Kosovo.
Biden and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero held bilateral talks during a pre-G20 warm-up meeting of center-left leaders in the Chilean coastal resort of Vina del Mar on Saturday.
"The relationship we have with Spain exceeds whatever disagreement we may have over Kosovo," Biden said at the end of the summit. "We talked about the need for expanding communications."
A Spanish government spokesman earlier told reporters Biden had told Zapatero he understood Spain's troop pullout decision and that the matter was closed.
There was "absolute understanding over the Spanish decision", the Spanish government spokesman told reporters.
Spain confirmed on Sunday it would withdraw most of its 600 troops from Kosovo by the end of the summer. The United States had said it was surprised and "deeply disappointed" by the move.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia last year. Spain is among five of the 27 European Union member countries that have not recognized Kosovo as independent.
Spain's ties with the United States have been strained since 2004, when Zapatero withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq. Zapatero's Socialist government had hoped relations would improve with President Barack Obama's Democratic administration.
(Reporting by Patricia Velez; writing by Simon Gardner; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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