27-09-2016 03:05 PM Jerusalem Timing

Obama Makes Symbolic but Overshadowed Spain Visit

Obama Makes Symbolic but Overshadowed Spain Visit

Obama is squeezing in a visit to a key NATO and EU partner before dashing home to deal with the aftermath of a wrenching shooting in Dallas.

Obama is squeezing in a visit to a key NATO and EU partner before dashing home to deal with the aftermath of a wrenching shooting in Dallas.

He has cut a two-day visit to the Iberian peninsula down to one and cancelled a trip to Seville with King Felipe altogether, after a black army veteran in Dallas killed five white police officers.

"I've been looking forward to visiting Spain, an indispensable European partner, even as the horrific shootings in the United States require that I cut my time here short," Obama told Spanish daily El Pais.

"I had a chance to travel through the country in my twenties when I was backpacking across Europe... I've always wanted to return."

Speaking in Warsaw just before Air Force One departed for Spain, Obama insisted the country's divisions were overplayed.

This was not, he insisted, the crisis-ridden days of the 1960s, when U.S. cities burned, the Vietnam War raged and the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King were slain.

But his decision to shorten the trip is a tacit acknowledgement that the United States faces a combustible mix of deteriorating race relations, hyper-charged election politics and seemingly never-ending gun violence.