Visit by Spanish Foreign Minister to Moscow improves relations between two countries

The slight "cooling" of relations between Spain and Russia on the eve of the Iraq war has now "given way to an era of understanding".

This is how the newspaper El Mundo assesses the results of a visit to Moscow by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and his talks with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The paper recalls that the complications between Madrid and Moscow were due to the fact that Ana Palacio, the then foreign minister who arrived in the Russian capital six weeks before the war began in Iraq, claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and demanded immediate action.

The Russian side, in its turn, reckoned that UN inspectors should be given additional time to finally establish the existence or otherwise of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before launching any action.

The current improvement of relations between Spain and Russia, believes El Mundo, is connected with the pull-out of Spanish troops from Iraq, which Moratinos assessed as a "correct decision meeting the election pledges of the Socialist Party".

The newspaper remarks that both sides have found full understanding on the issue of struggle against terrorism and decided to set up a joint body to include responsible representatives of the interior ministry, the foreign ministry, justice and secret services of Spain and Russia.

El Mundo quotes Moratinos as saying that "Europe cannot reconcile itself to formal relations with Russia". The Spanish minister said that "it is necessary to raise the bar in these relations, make them political and strategic, and create a real union that can make a contribution to Europe's future".

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Author`s name: Editorial Team