President Obama Visits Spain

President Obama with President Rajoy (photo: AP/Susan Walsh)
President Obama with President Rajoy (photo: AP/Susan Walsh)

President Barack Obama’s trip to Spain was brief, due to the events in Dallas, but with a full agenda.  The President landed late in the evening on Saturday, July 9, at Torrejon Air base in Madrid, just after leaving the NATO Summit in Poland, where he was greeted by King Felipe VI.  On Sunday, President Obama again met with King Felipe VI at the Royal Palace in Madrid for a bilateral meeting. During his visit, the President reminisced about his first trip to Spain as a backpacker, which took place before he entered law school. Both the President and the King reaffirmed the close relationship that Spain and United States have and their commitment to enduring collaboration in the future.

A visit to Moncloa Palace, headquarters of the Spanish government, followed, where President Obama and Prime Minster Rajoy held a bilateral meeting and answered questions from the press. In his statement after the meeting, Prime Minister Rajoy highlighted some of the topics they discussed including: the recovery of the Spanish economy, the recent elections in Spain, the aftermath of Brexit, NATO relations, the situation in Venezuela, and finally commenting on the recent progress made in both Cuba and Colombia.  President Obama also addressed questions from the press regarding the recent events in Dallas, Texas and the formation of the Spanish government.

President Obama then headed to the Spanish Naval Base in Rota, which supports U.S., Spanish and NATO forces.  There Commander Russel Caldwell provided a tour of the USS Ross, one of four guided-missile destroyers permanently based in Rota.  While on base, the President thanked the Spanish government for hosting American troops at Rota for more than 60 years and spoke to members of the U.S. and Spanish military and their families. He noted that during his travels to Europe he wanted, “to focus on America’s relation to Europe and the fact that our commitment will not change.  We have an enduring commitment to the Transatlantic Alliance and to our allies in Europe because you are central to our security, and we could not have a more important alliance or a better set of friends than those of you here in Europe.  That includes a strong and unified Spain — one of our closest allies.” Before shaking hands and concluding he said, “So my message today is that we’re going to keep standing together to meet the challenges of our time. And in this moment of uncertainty in Europe, we’ll remain steadfast as allies through NATO — the strongest alliance that the world has ever known.”

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