Spain ready to host meeting of Muslim and Western leaders

In November, Spain will host a meeting of Western and Muslim politicians leaders as significant part of the plan to prevent further terrorist attacks by advancing dialogue.

The meeting will be held on one of Spain's Balearic islands in the Mediterranean, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told reporters Monday night.

It was not known which countries will send representatives to the meeting or at what level, Zapatero's office said. No date had been selected for the meeting.

The prime minister revealed his proposal for an "alliance of civilizations" in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly last year. On Monday, Zapatero said he had the backing of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to start putting the plan into effect. He said Turkey also supported it.

Zapatero has not given specifics, but the idea is to address the root causes of terrorism by bridging misunderstandings between the West and the Muslim and Arab world.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with Zapatero last week in London and endorsed the concept. Zapatero first proposed it after taking office following last year's attacks on the Madrid commuter rail network, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,500.

Many Spanish voters accused the conservatives who governed at that time of making Spain a target for al-Qaida by sending 1,300 Spanish troops to support the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq after major combat ceased, the AP reports.

The Madrid attacks were claimed by militants who said they had acted on behalf of al-Qaida in revenge for the troop presence. Zapatero brought the troops home shortly after taking office in April 2004.

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