Spain’s President Aznar and the New Resolution


Spanish President of the Government Jose Maria Aznar, during a joint press conference with U.S. President Bush.

J. Scott Applewhite/ AP Photo

Spain, which has experienced a large Islamic influx of illegal immigration–like it’s neighbors Britain and France, has become one of the strongest forces in dismantling terrorism. Spain has successfully apprehended al Qaeda terrorists, and while President Aznar was in Texas speaking at a joint press conference with President Bush Saturday, he articulated his commitment to Spain’s continual work. “I would like to express how satisfied I am,” Aznar said, “having arrested important terrorists today in Spain, people who only think of murdering and committing crimes.” Aznar has faced fierce opposition for his work in leading the charge against threats to world security, but he has not backed down.

President Aznar: “What we want for the world is peace and security, and that’s what we’re working for with our best will, in order not to be submitted to blackmail of any kind. We’re not thinking of our comfort, but of our responsibility. We want peace, freedom and prosperity for all.”

This week, President Jose Maria Aznar of Spain met in talks with U.S. President Bush at the Western White House in Crawford, Texas. Meetings involved the new U.N. resolution written, the Middle East Crisis, as well as the international fight against terrorism.

Over the weekend, quadrilateral talks took place via telephone between Spanish President Aznar, U.S. President Bush, British Prime Minister Blair, and Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi. The world leaders allied shortly before a press conference with Bush and Aznar to discuss Iraq. However, while talking with the press, both Presidents Aznar and Bush were silent about the details of the quad conference.

A Senior Administration official wouldn’t elaborate on the call, but said the Presidents spoke at length before and after the telephone conference on the issue of Iraq and the next U.N. resolution on the disarming of Saddam.

Senior Administration Official: “…it was very clear from the discussions…that President Bush and Aznar shared a fundamental conviction that Saddam Hussein must be disarmed.” “The conversation this morning had to do with tactics, timing of the next resolution, and a look at the way ahead.”

Resolution 1441, which brought UN inspectors back to Baghdad to disarm Saddam received a unanimous vote. But, Iraq has not fully complied, playing—what many say—a public relations game with the world. President Aznar says that giving Saddam “infinite” time to disarm “would be a laugh”, and that a never-ending time table would make it “very difficult for anyone to take us seriously, beginning with the United Nations.” “That would be the worst possible message we could send for peace,” he says. And, in terms of the new resolution, Aznar says that Spain is committed and had been “very active” in working on it.

President Aznar and President Bush talked with reporters from the U.S. and Spain for about 30 minutes at Bush’s Texas ranch. U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was present but didn’t speak at the time.

Before reporters asked questions, President Aznar laid out Spain’s position: “Spain is an EU member and a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. Spain is very clearly in favor of the strength of the transatlantic link. In these three extremely important dimensions, Spain is committed with an active role in contributing to an appropriate response to the threat that Saddam Hussein’s regime entails for international peace and security.

“We’ve worked very hard, and with good results, to forge consensus within the European Union that it is necessary to maintain. We share the efforts and the needs within the Security Council that the international community has to maintain to guarantee peace and security in the world.

“Precisely, it is in the Security Council that the international community has laid the responsibility of maintaining world peace and security. Our responsibility is precisely to work so that the Security Council can exercise its responsibilities, working in order to achieve in agreement the firm compliance of international legality.”

Aznar: “We free societies are target of terrorists”

“I cannot but underline the importance of that relationship in our struggle against terrorism. We free societies are the targets of terrorists, and they must be fought unconditionally, with no reservations and not being allowed to be blackmailed by them. And we cannot be kidnapped by this fear that — we cannot be the hostages of the terrorists, and we will not be.”

“Cooperation between the United States and Spain against terrorism is total. And I would like to thank President Bush for his resolve and his commitment in this regard.”

12 Years and al-Samoud Long Range Missiles

Reporters wanted to know from both presidents if the new proposed resolution would ask Iraq to start destroying the al-Samoud long-range missiles and whether the resolution spoke about an ultimatum on a time frame to destroy them, or if it included a threat for the use of force. President Bush said, “We’re in the process of discussing the language. “ Saddam “ has deceived the world for 12 years. He’ll play like he’s going to disarm; he has no intention of disarming. Otherwise, he would have done so.”

President Aznar said, “Well, what I want to say is that we cannot designate Saddam Hussein as the manager of international peace and security. We’ve been with this item on the agenda for 12 years. And what we cannot do is play this game in which you have inspectors are handed over something, everything is going well, but if it isn’t, well, that means they’re hiding weapons.

“ So the world can make these mistakes, but the mistake we cannot make is to let Saddam Hussein being the one managing peace and a threat. And that’s why we’re working so intensely towards a new resolution. And that’s why I’m convinced and that’s why we’re all working towards these common aspirations of peace, security and freedom for the world.

“ Spain is a democratic and European voice, and we know that there cannot be peace without law, and that peace cannot be separate from security.

“And in these international law and — the disarmament obligations that Saddam Hussein has been subject to for the last 12 years must be implemented. And this has to be based on the will and everyone’s commitment and our capacity to do so.”

Aznar: “Peace is our horizon..”

“ We have expressly reaffirmed Resolution 1441. Resolution 1441 and the usefulness of the military capabilities deployed in order to achieve Saddam’s disarmament. We are committed to peace, and peace is our horizon. But if we are unable to combat aggressive dictators, tyrannical regimes, this is something that endangers the very existence of international peace and harmony. And if we are incapable of guaranteeing this peace, international peace would become senseless rhetoric.

“And we honestly do not want to get into rhetoric when we’re
speaking of international order, weapons of mass destruction, terrorist groups, lives in danger, or threats that we have to confront.

“Thus, my position in my talks with President Bush can be summarized as follows. Expressly, we are ready to fight together against weapons of mass destruction and terrorism — that is, for a world in peace and for a safe world.

“And we are working in order that the U.N. Security Council, in its role based on the U.N. Charter, may work towards peace and security in the world through a new resolution that has the greatest support, and majority support.

“Our aim is for Iraq to disarm and for Saddam to comply with his obligations. And international legality has to be credible and we have to strengthen our efforts, we have to continue with our pressure on Saddam Hussein, and do all this in unity and in agreement within the framework of the Security Council. Of course, time is not indefinite; we don’t have much time.”

The New Resolution and the Seal of Spain

A Spanish reporter asked “the Spanish President of the Government” to tell whether or not the new UN proposed resolution will include the seal of Spain. “We know it will bear the seal of the United States and of Great Britain. But will it also bear the Spanish seal? Will Spain be considered or will it be a co-author of that resolution? “ he said.

“Well, we’re working on it,” said President Aznar “and we devoted some time last night and this morning to precisely that. And we want to be as clear as possible in that it has as many possible supporters in the Security Council. And as I said, our commitment is a very active commitment, and it’s also very active in supporting this resolution.

“We know very much and very well what we’re handling here and what’s at stake. And what we want for the world is peace and security, and that’s what we’re working for with our best will, in order not to be submitted to blackmail of any kind. We’re not thinking of our comfort, but of our responsibility. We want peace, freedom and prosperity for all. “