US assures that negotiations for additional Palomares cleanup “will resume soon”.
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinkensaid Wednesday that the negotiations with Spain to proceed to an agreement for a additional cleaning of the land contaminated by the accident at Palomares (Almería) in 1966 “will be resumed soon”without giving any deadlines.
This issue has been one of those he has addressed with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, in the meeting that both have held in Washington and that has served as a preparation for this Friday’s meeting at the White House. between the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the U.S. President, Joe Biden.
Blinken has recognized the “importance” of this issue and has recalled that. The U.S. already carried out cleanup work in the area affected by the four thermonuclear bombs dropped by one of the two U.S. planes that collided over this Almerian village almost six decades ago.
Thus, he has advanced that “negotiations to carry out additional cleanup efforts will be resumed soon”, even though he did not specify whenwhile assuring of the willingness of the United States to address this issue with Spain.
For his part, Albares has precisely put in value the willingness of dialogue of both parties to resolve a long-standing problem such as that of the Palomares contamination.. The minister stressed that this is “a complex issue” and that “technical issues” still need to be resolved before a final decision can be made.
The technical aspects, he has defended, “should be discussed at the technical level” and not at the political leveland once this happens, the phases to proceed with the cleanup of the contaminated lands and the transfer of these lands to the United States can be established, he pointed out, without wanting to clarify whether this could happen before the end of this year.
The Palomares issue will be one of those that Sanchez and Biden will discuss this FridayMoncloa, which also did not want to throw the bells to the flight on an eventual agreement as a result of the meeting, had anticipated. However, government sources have acknowledged that there has been progress in recent months and have hoped that the two presidents can give a “push” to the matter.
The 2015 statement of intent
The government sent last March, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a formal request to the Biden Administration to proceed to the removal of contaminated land in accordance with a statement of intent reached in 2015. with Mariano Rajoy in Moncloa and Barack Obama in the White House.
In October 2015, then Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo signed in Madrid a declaration of intent in which both countries committed themselves to a “major rehabilitation” of the Palomares environment and to undertake the removal of contaminated soil to a “suitable site” in the United States.
Despite this agreement, in these years no progress has been madeThis prompted the current government to take it up again and formally request Washington to comply with what was agreed at the time. Although Blinken has expressed U.S. willingness to address the issue, it remains to be seen whether this will be done in accordance with what was agreed upon at the time.
In that document, Spain expressed its desire for “further rehabilitation of the Palomares environment” while. The United States expressed its desire to “render the necessary assistance to achieve this objective”. To this end, the two governments were to “negotiate a binding agreement to establish a cooperative effort” for such remediation and agreed to “the deposit of the contaminated lands at a suitable site in the United States”.