Madrid – President Barack Obama arrived in Spain on Sunday morning making his first and only visit to the European country as a president. Originally, Obama and his delegation were supposed to stay two days at the country – Sunday and Monday – in order to meet officials, go sightseeing, and so on. However, multiple violent events back in the United States forced an early return.

Around 11 a.m., King Felipe VI met President Obama at the Royal Palace in Madrid where a welcome ceremony was held. The president of the United States apologized to the attendees for having to shorten his visit to the European country, but multiple shootings back in his country require the head of state’s presence. Accordingly, King Felipe VI thanked Obama for making the time given the circumstances. Every president of the United States since Nixon has visited the country while on charge, and Obama was not the exception.

Obama in Spain
President Barack Obama, (left) walks with Spain’s King Felipe VI at the Palacio Real de Madrid, Spain. Credit: AP

As a token of appreciation, the member of the royal family gave the North American leader a copy of Don Quixote by the worldwide famous Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The book is in English, and it bears both the U.S. and the Spain’s Royal House stamps on the custom leather cover. The King and the Queen themselves wrote a personal dedication in English.

Spain’s Prime Minister also received the North American leader

After meeting in private with the King, the president of the United States met with Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s Prime Minister, at the Moncloa Palace where the Spanish official resides.

Rajoy has been going through his own difficult times lately. The country has faced financial difficulties and has hosted a couple of elections in a very brief period of time. Even though he won the internal elections held by People’s Party, he has had a difficult time rallying other major political leaders and parties under a single movement. The congress elections in 2015 resulted in the most fragmented parliament in four decades, so the Prime Minister hopes that Obama’s visit will give help his cause. Accordingly, the US president praised Rajoy’s labor both as a Spanish leader and as a representative in NATO.

The North American Leader had to answer harsh questions during the press conference held after meeting the Prime Minister, especially the ones regarding the situation the United States is going through. In this regard, the chief executive said both police officers and civilians needed to understand each other if they wanted to find a quick solution.

“I would hope that police organizations are also respectful of the frustrations that people in these communities feel and not just dismiss these protests and these complaints as political correctness,” Barack Obama told the Spanish press.

He was also asked about the polemic decision FBI director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch made about Hillary Clinton’s private server. He said it was inappropriate to question a decision made by renowned officials, and that he was not going to comment on it.

The president is expected to return to the United States later on Sunday.

Source: El Pais