with Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar
Prairie Chapel Ranch
February 22, 2003
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
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 of mankind.
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
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 like to 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
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 much time.
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.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you need nine votes in the Security Council, and no vetoes.
And yet, as of this point, only four countries have spoken out
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 not?
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.
QUESTION: 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 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.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Patsy.
QUESTION: 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 relevancy?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes. Si. Last chance.
QUESTION: 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 believe 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 be long, 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
QUESTION: 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 contain?
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
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 resolution
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 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.