President Bush Meets with Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar
Remarks by President Bush and President Jose Maria Aznar in Press Availability
Prairie Chapel Ranch
11:44 A.M. CST
PRESIDENT BUSH: I welcome my good friend, President Jose Maria
Aznar, to Crawford. We're especially pleased that Ana is with him, as
well. I visited his ranch on my first visit to Europe as the
President. I'm very pleased to return the hospitality.
Spain is a strong and trusted ally. Our two nations have drawn
closer than ever before in fighting terrorism across Europe and
beyond. Spain has apprehended members of al Qaeda and continues to
share vital information -- intelligence information. President Aznar
is a strong fighter in the war against terror, and I value his advice.
I respect and appreciate his leadership in the U.N., the EU and
NATO, to meet the new threats of this new century. For the Spanish
people and for their leader, the cause of liberty is more than a
phrase; it is a fundamental commitment expressed in resolute action.
President Aznar and I agree that the future of peace depends on the
disarmament of Iraq. We agree that Saddam Hussein continues to be in
violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441. We agree that the
terms of that resolution must be fully respected. By Resolution 1441,
the Security Council has taken a clear stand, and it now faces a clear
choice. With all the world watching, the Council will now show whether
it means what it says.
Early next week, working with our friends and allies, we will
introduce an additional Security Council resolution that will set out
in clear and
simple terms that Iraq is not complying with Resolution 1441. For
the record, this would not be a second resolution on Iraq's weapons of
mass destruction, it would only be the latest in a long series of
resolutions, going back 12 years.
We will discuss this resolution with members of the Security
Council, and we will hear again from Chief Inspector Blix. During
these final deliberations, there is but one question for the Council to
address, is Saddam Hussein complying with Resolution 1441. That
resolution did not ask for hints of progress or minor concessions. It
demanded full and immediate disarmament. That, and that alone, is the
issue before the Council. We will not allow the Iraqi dictator, with a
history of aggression and close ties to terrorist groups, to continue
to possesses or produce weapons of mass destruction.
Our coalition draws its strength from the courage and moral clarity
of leaders like President Aznar. In times of testing, we discover who
is willing to stand up for the security of free peoples and the rights
Mr. President, you are clearly a man willing to take this stand. I
thank you for your leadership. I thank you for your friendship.
PRESIDENT AZNAR: (As translated) Well, good morning, good day to
everyone. I would firstly like to thank, on behalf of my wife and for
myself, I would like to thank Laura Bush and George Bush for their
invitation to visit the ranch. And this is a time to work, to rest, to
talk in truly marvelous surroundings.
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.
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.
And allow me to say two things in this regard. Cooperation between
the United States and Spain against terrorism is total. And I would
thank President Bush for his resolve and his commitment in this
regard. And secondly, I would like to express how satisfied I am in
the -- again having arrested important terrorists today in Spain,
people who only think of murdering and committing crimes.
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.
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,
tyrannic 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
And lastly, as I already talked about with President Bush, we have
to work towards peace and security in the region. And this requires
quick action on our part to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In
that scenario, we are also ready and willing to work jointly.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you.
We'll answer two questions a side, starting with Tom.
Q Mr. President, you need nine votes in the Security Council,
and no vetoes. And yet, as of this point, only four countries have
in favor of moving forward and no minds seem to have been changed.
Are you ready to move ahead now with this new resolution, even if you
don't have the votes to pass it?
And to the Prime Minister -- President Aznar -- you've been making
many calls yourself to world leaders and members of the Security
Council. Have you been able to change anyone's mind? And if not, why
PRESIDENT BUSH: There's not even a resolution put on the table
yet. There will be one soon. And so the people will be able to see
what they're asked to vote on. We just got off a phone call with Tony
Blair and Silvio Berlusconi. It was a four-way conversation to talk
about the resolution and the strategy.
This discussion sounds vaguely familiar. I think I remember
getting asked the same questions prior to the last resolution, the
Resolution 1441 that passed 15 to zero; where the Security Council
said, with a unanimous voice, Saddam must disarm. He hasn't disarmed.
And so the clarity of vision that took place four months ago I'm
confident will be in place after the Security Council takes a good look
at the facts. And so we're just beginning, is my point.
PRESIDENT AZNAR: I hear many messages on unilateral actions. But
what I must say is that President Bush, the U.S. government and all the
allies are all working together in the framework of the United
Nations. And that's how Resolution 1441 came out. And that's how the
new resolution we're working on has to come out.
It's difficult to ask for an agreement on something that doesn't
exist yet. We'll ask for people's agreement when it does exist. We
hope it's soon. We hope it's good. And we hope it assembles the
greatest possible supporters. Because what we cannot forget is that
our aim is disarmament and to avoid the threat that weapons of mass
destruction, a possible use by Saddam Hussein, the threat that this
poses to the world.
Q My question is for the Spanish President of the government.
Regarding this new proposal for a new resolution, 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?
PRESIDENT AZNAR: Well, we're working on it, and we devoted some
time last night and this morning to precisely that. And we want to be
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
PRESIDENT BUSH: Patsy.
Q It took almost two months to get Resolution 1441 out of the
Security Council. Are you willing to wait that long this time, and is
this the really last chance for the United Nations to prove its
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes. Si. Last chance.
Q Are you going to wait that long?
PRESIDENT BUSH: No. As the President said, time is short. And
this is a chance for the Security Council to show its relevance. And I
the Security Council will show its relevance, because Saddam
Hussein has not disarmed.
PRESIDENT AZNAR: What I want to say is that if Resolution 1441
states that it's Saddam's last opportunity, that means that time cannot
because the last opportunity has already been given to him. What
we have to verify now is whether he has disarmed, or not. If we now
said that time
was infinite, it would be a laugh. It would be 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.
Q My question is addressed to both Presidents. I would like to
know whether in your proposed resolution you are going to be talking
about the al-Samoud long-range missiles and whether you are going to be
-- because Iraq has today mentioned that it was ready to start
destroying them -- and whether in your resolution you're going to be
speaking about an ultimatum, a deadline, or a threat for the use of
force. What do you think this is going to be -- what are you going to
PRESIDENT BUSH: We're in the process of discussing the language.
If Iraq decides to destroy the weapons that were long-range weapons,
that's just the tip of the iceberg. My question is, why don't they
destroy every weapon -- illegal weapon.
Saddam Hussein wants time. And after all, he thinks he will get
time, because he has done so -- he 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. He'll say words that
encourage -- that sound encouraging. He's done so for 12 years. And
so the idea of destroying a rocket or two rockets or however many he's
going to destroy says to me that he's got a lot more weapons to
destroy, and why hadn't he destroyed them yet?
In terms of language, that's exactly why we -- that's exactly why
Jose Maria and I are talking. And we'll let you know what's in the
when we put it down.
PRESIDENT AZNAR: Well, what I want to say is that we cannot
designate Saddam Hussein as the manager of international peace and
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.