President Obama cuts short Spain visit in wake of Dallas shootings

The world leader will no longer make a stop in Seville and will return to Washington on Sunday

Obama speaks about the Dallas shootings in Warsaw.
Obama speaks about the Dallas shootings in Warsaw.JONATHAN ERNST (REUTERS)

The Dallas shootings have forced US President Barack Obama to change his planned trip to Spain, which was scheduled for this weekend.

The world leader will be cutting short the visit by 24 hours, according to a statement released on Saturday by the White House, which did not specify the reason for the alteration. But it is widely understood that the shooting deaths of police officers in Dallas, Texas, at a protest called after the killings by police of two African Americans this week, forced the change.

Obama will no longer be making a stop in the Andalusian city of Seville, which was scheduled for Sunday. He will instead spend the day in Madrid, before traveling to the US military base in Rota. From there he will travel back to Washington on Sunday night.

Despite early concerns that his visit might be cancelled altogether, Obama on Friday personally confirmed that he would still be coming to Spain, said sources at La Moncloa, the seat of the Spanish government.

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These sources said that Obama and acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy spoke briefly at the NATO summit they are both attending in Warsaw, and that the US president told Rajoy he “will be happy to greet him in his own city,” a reference to his scheduled stop in Madrid.

This will be the first time that President Obama has made an official visit to Spain.

The US military base at Rota is home to 2,846 US military personnel and 2,610 relatives. No US president has ever stopped there, even though the base has been operating for the last 63 years.

Obama’s agenda is still likely to include meetings with King Felipe VI, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and several members of the opposition.

At the press conference following the Friday Cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría condemned the Dallas shootings and underscored Spain’s support “in the fight against violence and for equal rights.”

Speaking in Warsaw, Obama condemned the “tremendous tragedy” that unfolded in Dallas on Thursday at a rally to protest the shooting of two black men by police. He also described it as a “vicious, calculated, despicable attack.”

English version by Susana Urra.

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