Interior spent €74,000 on security for Obama’s Sevilla visit that never happened

INTERIOR ministry bosses spent nearly €74,000 on security measures ahead of a visit to Sevilla by the then US president Barack Obama – which was cancelled.

The PP government revealed these figures in response to a request from the MP for United Left (IU), Miguel Ángel Bustamante.

Obama was due to visit the Andalucía city last of all on a three-day trip to Spain in summer which included Madrid and the US air base in Rota (Cádiz province), but his return home had to be brought forward due to the shoot-out in Dallas, Texas, which had cost the lives of five police officers.

The president’s Spanish visit was cut to just 24 hours, barely giving him time to meet with his counterpart in the Mediterranean country and the head of State, King Felipe VI.

Bustamante criticised Obama’s visit having centred on meeting the monarch and political leaders to ‘push them into signing the TTIP quickly’ and ‘check on his military’, claiming it was ‘very telling’ how the only part of the agenda cancelled was the Sevilla trip.

The then minister of the interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, said all the money spent on security for the aborted visit was ‘limited to what was strictly necessary’ given Obama’s position as head of State of one of the world’s largest and most powerful countries.

Of the total of €73,902.42 spent, the sum of €17,907 was for Obama’s train journey to Sevilla and the safety measures in place in transit, Fernández Díaz said.

But Bustamante still felt these sums to be excessive for a visit that never took place.

Published Think Spain09 February 2017

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