BALEARIC leader Jaume Matas said that his government would do everything possible to ensure that the Princess of Asturias, doña Letizia, would be enchanted by the islands, during her first holiday here with the Spanish Royal Family in August, and at the same time will guarantee her safety and privacy. The Guardia Civil presented a report yesterday to the committee investigating the March 11 bomb atrocities in Madrid, in which it was claimed that the presence of the Royal Family (next month) will increase the threat of Islamic terrorism in the islands. But Matas said that there is a security committee to guarantee their safety with the greatest possible discretion. Matas added that the visit of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, in company of their son, Crown Prince Felipe (the Prince of Asturias) and his wife, is great news for the Balearics, but he stressed that their privacy would be respected and guaranteed as we have always done. The Spanish Royal Family spend their summer holiday at Marivent Palace and usually spend the Easter break here too. While here, they regularly take part in regattas, and the King also receives various foreign dignitaries, as well as the Spanish Prime Minister.
Matas said it was also magnificent news that Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero planned to spend his holidays in Minorca, even though he had had no official notification of this.
He said that this establishes Minorca as the summer holiday home of Spanish Prime Ministers, a tradition started by former Premier José Maria Aznar.
He added that Aznar would not go to Minorca this year, but instead will be going to Ibiza, an island with which he has family ties.
Speaking from Minorca, Ramon Socías, the government representative in the Balearics, rejected the Guardia Civil report about the Royal Family's Majorcan holiday increasing the terrorism threat on the islands.
He expressed his surprise at the alarmist interpretation given to the report, and said that the opposite is true - it is when the King and Queen are in Majorca or the Prime Minister in Minorca that security and controls are beefed up.
He added that if those responsible for the security of the Royal Family or the Prime Minister thought there was any danger, they would be the first to advise against travelling to the Balearics. The situation, he said, is the opposite as because the Balearics are islands, this makes it easier to control arrivals and departures. Socías was in Minorca to discuss security for the visit by Zapatero, and this will be followed by a second meeting with security chiefs from La Moncloa, the Prime Minister's Madrid residence, in Majorca on Tuesday.
Socias declined to give the exact dates of Zapatero's holiday, nor did he say where the family would be staying. Sources said yesterday that it is now unlikely to be the Torre de Sant Nicolas, which had been named previously, because of security problems.