POOR old Spanish Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero is being rather outflanked by the man he replaced. While ex-Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar is being wined and dined by President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, Zapatero still hasn't even spoken to Bush since his re-election. Meanwhile, his relationship with Blair remains rather frosty. These so-called informal meetings with both Bush and Blair have been given great publicity by the Spanish media. In fact the Aznar-Blair talks on Monday received more coverage that a preview of the big summit between Zapatero and Chirac. It can't be very nice for Zapatero to know that the ex-Prime Minister is welcomed with open arms in both London and Washington while he is being accused of being a miserable failure on the world stage. What has made Zapatero look even more silly are all his efforts to talk to President Bush. Bush obviously doesn't want to speak to Zapatero for obvious reasons but the Spanish Prime Minister doesn't get the message. So far Aznar has held talks with the U.S. President and King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia were his guests for Thanksgiving. Bush rammed the point home even further when he said that Spain was a great country with a great people. Naturally, he made no mention of Zapatero. The Spanish Prime Minister has got to realise that people have long memories. In the case of Bush, when Zapatero was leader of the opposition, he refused to stand when the U.S. flag was paraded through the streets of Madrid in honour of the victims of September 11. He has also been rather vocal about the war in Iraq. But while Bush has spoken to the biggest critics of the war, French President Chirac and German Chancellor Schroeder, Zapatero is still waiting. Perhaps, his New Year's resolution should be a couple of lessons on diplomacy.
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