Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez emphasized on Wednesday the growing relevance of Spain in Latin America, where Spanish firms have made 130 billion euros worth of investments.

Addressing members of the lower house of Parliament, Jimenez praised the foreign policy the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has followed for the past 7 1/2 years.

This is a policy, she said, that has based itself on "the traditional axes" of trans-Atlantic relations, relations with Latin America, with the Mediterranean countries and within the European Union.

The minister expressed her pleasure that Spain "finally" has links with Morocco based on mutual respect and that it is a "key" country in Latin America, where Madrid's economic role and the 130 billion euros that Spanish firms have invested there have been crucial.

On the other hand, the foreign affairs spokesman of the conservative main opposition Popular Party, Gustavo de Aristegui, accused the Socialist government of having used foreign policy as an "electoral instrument."

Zapatero announced in July that he was moving up the general elections previously scheduled for March 2012 to Nov. 20 in the "general interest" of the country, amid an economic crisis and the pressures international markets are exerting upon Spain.

The prime minister is not seeking re-election.

His Socialist party, now led by former Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, currently trails in the polls behind the PP.