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3 years after snub of America, Spain again includes U.S. forces in military parade

3 years after snub of America, Spain again includes U.S. forces in military parade

The U.S. flag will be back on display at a Spanish military parade next week, three years after Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero _ then the opposition leader _ protested the Iraq war by remaining seated at the procession when an American honor guard filed past with the Stars and Stripes.
Zapatero came to power in April 2004 and quickly brought home Spanish troops sent to Iraq by his conservative predecessor. He also ended a post-Sept. 11 tradition in which U.S. forces marched in the Dia de la Hispanidad parade carrying the American flag.
At the 2003 parade, he was in the VIP podium and pointedly remained seated when the American flag was carried past it.
A rift between Madrid and Washington widened in 2004 when then-U.S. Ambassador George Argyros responded by skipping the parade that year and the following year, as well as a reception at the Royal Palace.
Defense Ministry spokeswoman Maria Eugenia Torio said on Wednesday that this year the United States has been invited to take part in the parade along with 35 other countries that take part in the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo.
She declined to comment on suggestions in the Spanish media that Madrid is now atoning for Zapatero's gesture at the 2003 parade.


Updated : 2021-03-04 02:28 GMT+08:00