The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
January 14, 2004

President Bush Welcomes President Aznar of Spain
The Oval Office

6:28 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Bienvenidos a mi amigo, a friend of mine, a friend of our country, a person who I admire a lot. This is a happy moment and a sad moment. It's happy to be with President Aznar. It is sad to realize this will be the last time he'll come to the Oval Office as the leader of Spain.

I say, sad, because our time together has been very productive for the people of America, and I believe, the people of Spain and the people of the world. We have worked together to spread freedom. And the world is more peaceful today because of the decisions we jointly made.

However, this is not the last time I will see the President. I am confident that the friendship we have made will last beyond our -- my time in office and his time in office. I look back -- I look forward to welcoming him back to America as a non-President. We'll be members of the ex-President's club.

And so, Mr. President, I'm really glad you're here. I look forward to having dinner with you tonight, and your great wife. And again, in front of these cameras, I want to thank you for your steadfast leadership, for your courage, for your wisdom and your advice.

PRESIDENT AZNAR: (Remarks spoken in Spanish.)

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you all.

Q Translation?

PRESIDENT BUSH: He doesn't need to translate for me. I understood every word. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT AZNAR: (As translated.) Good evening, everyone. I want to thank President Bush once again for this very warm welcome, for the invitation, for his hospitality. For me, it is a satisfaction and an honor to be here with him again. I consider him a very good friend. He has been my friend during my time as President of the government of Spain, and I will continue to consider him my friend afterwards.

And a friend -- I am a friend of the United States now, and I will continue to be a friend of the United States in the future. I consider that, at present, the relationship between Spain and the United States is closer and tighter than it has ever been.

I will continue to work to do everything to strengthen the relationship, the Atlantic link. I will work for freedom, for human rights, for democracy, for stability, prosperity around the world. And I know that President Bush will be able to count upon me to continue working in that direction. So I will continue to work for the world and for the relationship between the United States and Spain.


END 6:34 P.M. EST

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