Secretary of State Colin Powell
Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique
Washington, D.C.
September 28, 2001

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It has been my pleasure this afternoon to host my colleague, Foreign Minister Pique of Spain. We had an excellent conversation and covered a large number of issues.

He began by once again expressing condolences on behalf of his President and the Spanish people for what happened in the United States on the 11th of September, and I in turn expressed our condolences to those Spanish citizens and Spanish-Americans who were lost in that terrible tragedy which reinforced once again that it was an attack, really, against the World Trade Center, and so many countries lost citizens in that terrible tragedy.

Spain has also been very, very forthcoming with respect to over-flights and the use of their bases to support our deployments. They have done this in the past and it is always deeply appreciative. But Spain has done more than that; they have spoken out very strongly against terrorism. They have experience in dealing with terrorists. And we have mutual agreements that we will work together against international terrorism.

And so they join us in this campaign and will do more. And we are examining other ways in which we can work together and cooperate. We have already seen the results of their efforts with the arrest of six individuals in Spain connected to the al-Qaida organization. And as President Bush said when he visited Spain, we want to help Spain in their struggle against terrorist activities and their struggle against the ETA. And we will continue to find ways to cooperate.

And so I welcome my colleague, I thank him, and I thank the Spanish people and especially President Aznar for all they have done to help us in this time of tragedy, crisis and opportunity.

Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER PIQUE: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, my friend. I want to reiterate our condemnation to the terrorist attacks on the past 11th of September, and all our solidarity with the United States and with the people and the Government of the United States in those moments.

We are ready to cooperate. We have cooperated in the past, and we are now cooperating, and we are ready to cooperate in the future, and going ahead, if it's convenient and it will be useful for this global fight against terrorism.

Unfortunately, we know very well this phenomenon, because we are suffering the terrorism for more than 30 years -- 32 years ago -- and we know very well the importance of the international cooperation for winning this battle and this struggle to confirm the superiority of our values and our institutions.

That's why our wish to cooperate is very sincere, it's very open, it's without any mental restrictions. And I'm sure that this kind of cooperation will be very, very close and corresponding to and coherent with our special and (inaudible) relationship among our two countries.

We have common views, we have a common political joint declaration, which is the framework of our relationship. We want to develop it. We have a bilateral relationship also in defense, because we have a bilateral agreement in this sense. We are allies in NATO. So I think that we have to continue with these efforts.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, could you give us a sense, if you will, of the kind of cooperation the US either is getting or seeking with Central Asian countries? You know, in this notion of encircling the Taliban.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we're in touch with all of the Central Asian countries. We have been very pleased with how forthcoming they have been with respect to condemning the act of 11 September, of offering support in various kinds of ways. And we are in touch with them through diplomatic channels and other channels to see what additional support they may be able to provide us as we undertake this campaign.

QUESTION: On Sudan, sir, why are you rewarding a terrorism-sponsoring state?

SECRETARY POWELL: Who are we rewarding?

QUESTION: Sudan. What you have done up at the UN (inaudible).

SECRETARY POWELL: We are quite appreciative of actions that Sudan has taken in recent months to respond to the concerns that we have had for a long time with respect to their support of terrorist activities. And especially since the 11th of September, they have been rather forthcoming in giving us access to certain individuals within the country, and in taking other actions which demonstrate to us a change in attitude. It's a change in attitude that we called for, and we had indicated to the Sudanese Government if we saw these sorts of changes in attitude, we would acknowledge them in a substantial way. And our actions in the UN today reflected that acknowledgment.

QUESTION: Are you looking to necessarily, maybe, de-list Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, given their recent cooperation?

SECRETARY POWELL: We continue to examine our relationship with Sudan. As you know, we appointed a humanitarian coordinator, Mr. Natsios, the Administrator of AID, and former Senator Jack Danforth will be a special envoy of the President's.

So we are looking for opportunities to improve our relationship, but more than that, improve the lives of the people of Sudan, those who are suffering so terribly as a result of the civil war that has gone on there for so long. And hopefully we are on a better path with Sudan to solve the problems that exist within that country.

Thank you.