Sanchez travels Thursday to Washington for meeting with Biden at the White House

Sanchez travels Thursday to Washington for meeting with Biden at the White House

The head of the GovernmentPedro Sánchez, travels this Thursday to Washington to meet with the President of the United States, Joe Biden, in order to strengthen the bilateral relationship and to advance in agreements such as the one on land contaminated with plutonium from the nuclear accident at Palomares (Almeria) in 1966.

Sanchez will travel to the U.S. capital after chairing in Madrid an extraordinary Council of Ministers on the drought and his first act in Washington will be today at the residence of the Spanish ambassador.

There he will intervene in the award ceremony of the Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic. to former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

It was last April 25 when the government agreed to the awarding of this distinction to the U.S. politician.a member of President Biden’s Democratic Party, by “breaking glass ceilings” by being the first woman to become Speaker of the House of Representatives since its founding.

Will be Friday when Biden will receive Sanchez in the Oval Office of the White House, a meeting that the Administration hopes will serve to consolidate bilateral relations and close agreements which have been crystallizing in recent months such as the negotiation for the United States to take plutonium-contaminated land by the Palomares nuclear accident.

In advance of that meeting, the Minister of Foreign AffairsJosé Manuel Albares, and the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, held a meeting this Wednesday in Washington in which they expressed their political will to resolve this issue, which is, as they explained, in technical discussions.

Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares and Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a press conference in Washington.

The Palomares cleanup

The Spanish government has called on Washington to fulfill the commitment made in 2015 to bring the sands contaminated with plutonium 57 years ago to a Nevada desert.

“First of all, we recognize the importance of this issue,” Blinken said at a press conference alongside Albares in which he said that negotiations for the cleanup of the area will resume soon.

For his part, Albares assured that there is a common will to resolve this matter although he admitted that it is a complex issue and there are still aspects to be resolved.

The Palomares nuclear accident occurred on January 17, 1966, when two U.S. Air Force aircraft collided, causing the release and fall of four thermonuclear bombs.

In total, it is 50,000 cubic meters of soil contaminated with half a kilo of plutonium and which means that the radioactive stigma remains in Cuevas de Almanzora, the Almeria municipality to which Palomares and Villaricos belong, more than half a century later.

The war in Ukraine will be another central issue in Sanchez’s meeting with Biden, and the two will also address issues such as the climate emergency, attacks on democratic institutions such as those experienced in the United States and Brazil, and the strengthening of the European Union’s relationship with the North American country.

Sanchez will share with Biden the priorities for the six-month European presidency and will seek synergies, especially in the framework of the EU-Latin America and Caribbean summit in July.

Another item on the agenda will be. the agreement signed at the end of March for Spain and Canada to to welcome Latin American migrants who often migrate to the United States. and whose applications will now be processed in centers that Washington wants to build in Colombia and Guatemala.

The meeting comes just a day after the so-called Title 42, which has allowed migrants who crossed into the United States to be automatically deported to Mexico without giving them opportunity to apply for asylum and with the argument that it was necessary to isolate the country because of the covid-19 pandemic.

Migrants wait for U.S. authorities, between a barbed wire barrier and the border fence at the U.S.-Mexico border, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Kayleigh Williams