France's Sarkozy making state visit to Spain

French President Nicolas Sarkozy began a two-day state visit to Spain yesterday during which he is to discuss issues including terrorism and the international financial crisis with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Sarkozy, accompanied by his wife Carla Bruni, was greeted at Madrid's airport by Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. The couple were then taken to the Pardo palace on Madrid's outskirts where visiting dignitaries traditionally stay. There they met with King Juan Carlos and the Spanish premier and were honored with a military parade.



After lunching with the monarch, the royal couple were to accompany Sarkozy and his wife on a visit to the Prado art museum in downtown Madrid. Later Monday, Sarkozy was to meet members of the French community in Spain and hold talks with conservative opposition Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy.



On Tuesday, Sarkozy and Zapatero will host a Spanish-French summit of ministers during which they are to discuss cooperation in combating the armed Basque group ETA.



French police have arrested dozens of suspected ETA members in recent years, including the group's three suspected chiefs in recent months.



ETA has killed more than 825 people in Spain in its 40-year campaign for a Basque state. Many of its members live in hiding in Basque areas of southwestern France.



Officials say the two leaders are also likely to discuss the international financial crisis, Spain's upcoming presidency of the European Union and other issues such as immigration, Afghanistan and the fight against piracy in waters off Somalia.



About 10 technical accords are to be signed by ministers, on energy, water routes, education and security.



Earlier this month, there was a commotion in diplomatic circles over Sarkozy's reported retort that the Spanish leader was "perhaps not very smart."



French newspaper "Liberation" reported April 16 that Sarkozy made the comments during a private meeting with lawmakers. Sarkozy's office denied them, but they still provoked a political uproar in France.



Sarkozy and Zapatero gave interviews ahead of the trip vaunting their close ties.



"I have a very good relationship with Nicolas Sarkozy and I know that all the comments he could have made about me were positive," Zapatero told French daily Le Monde.



In an interview in Spain's El Pais on Sunday, Sarkozy called Zapatero "a man of talent, a man of conviction, a great man of Europe."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Metail Ltd: Business Development Manager for Asia Pacific

£35,000 - £40,000 based on experience : Metail Ltd: As a Business Development ...

Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Owner

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product ...

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - £17,000 Basic, OTE Uncapped

£17000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company are looking for a S...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line Technical Analyst

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 1st / 2nd Line Technical Anal...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate