Op with Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar
The Rose Garden
The White House
November 28, 2001
11:55 A.M. EST
PRESIDENT BUSH: It's my honor to welcome a friend of mine and a friend of our
country, the President of Spain, to the White House. Jose Maria was on the phone
early, right after September the 11th. He assured me that he would cooperate
in any way possible in our mutual desire to fight terror. And he has lived up
to his word, and for that, I am grateful.
I asked nations to join us in bringing people to justice who are evil, who don't
respect the law. And this President responded. Recently, Spain has arrested
al Qaeda members and has shared information about those al Qaeda members. And
it's incredibly helpful. And for that, Mr. President, the American people are
very grateful. And in our meetings today I assured the President that our nation
would help Spain in any way possible to fight terror. And Mr. President, you've
got that assurance.
So it's a great honor -- un honor para mi para decir a mi amigo, bienvenidos
a los Estados Unidos.
PRESIDENT AZNAR: Dear President Bush, may I thank you for your invitation. It
is, indeed, a great honor and tremendous satisfaction for me to visit the White
We have very fond memories of the visit that you made to us in Spain last June.
And we recall your commitment and your words of support to Spain's fight against
terrorism. And, several months later, we have managed to see this solidarity,
this alliance is a two-way alliance.
Spain supports, has supported, and will support all the United States' efforts
to track down, to eradicate and to eliminate terrorism wherever it may be worldwide.
We intend to maintain and, if necessary, strengthen our political commitment,
our cooperation in the area of intelligence and security and information-sharing,
and, if need be, to commit military forces to that battle.
Our battle is a battle for the same ideas, for the same freedoms, for the same
society and civilizations, and we will share all those efforts as long as is
necessary to combat --. The only fate that awaits terrorists is defeat, and
the only option for terrorists is going to be brought to justice.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Tenemos hambre, y por esso, solamente quatros preguntas. Dos
de la prensa de la Estados Unidos, dos de la prensa de Espana, por favor. Four
questions, two from the American press, two from Spanish press, because we're
hungry -- we've got a big meal. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Yes, sir. Do you support suspending the payroll tax as a compromise
on the stimulus?
PRESIDENT BUSH: The question is do I support providing a credit on the payroll
PRESIDENT BUSH: The Domenici idea in the Senate? Here's what I support. I support
the Senate coming together and getting a bill moving as quickly as possible,
so that we can get it to conference and get the differences resolved. The Senate
must pass a stimulus package. The American people expect them to do so; I expect
them to do so.
I had a good conversation today with Senator Daschle and Senator Lott on this
very subject, and urged them to get the business done -- get the appropriations
bills passed, to get a stimulus package passed, and then go home and enjoy the
Christmas vacation. And I hope they do so. There are differences, but the differences
aren't that big. Any good package must be stimulative in effect, and at the
same time take care of displaced workers. There's agreement on that. They just
now have got to work out the details, and I hope they're able to do so.
QUESTION: Mr. President, according to The New York Times, 13 Spanish nationals
are being held in the United States in relation to the attacks on the Twin Towers.
Did you speak about that to President Bush?
PRESIDENT AZNAR: No.
QUESTION: Mr. President, how can you assure the American people safety in the
skies, given that your Transportation Secretary now thinks it may be impossible
to meet that initial deadline for screening baggage?
PRESIDENT BUSH: David, we're doing everything we can to meet the deadline. And
we're doing everything we can to make sure that the American people feel safe.
And one way we're doing it is to have Guardsmen at the airports over the Christmas
holidays. Another way to do it is to have the planes full of air marshals. And
finally, obviously, we need to expedite the ability for us to inspect baggage,
and we're doing everything we can to do that.
QUESTION: Did you discuss the military tribunals with regard to extradition
PRESIDENT BUSH: Military tribunals was the question.
PRESIDENT AZNAR: I said at the beginning of this press conference that political
cooperation between Spain and the United States is full on this issue. And I
just reiterate that, and also say that cooperation between the United States
and Spain, Spain and the United States, is also full as regards Spain's own
terrorism problem. And I think that is the most important point to bear in mind.
You asked about the extradition of the al Qaeda members in Spain. Can I just
say that if and when the United States requests that extradition, we will study
the issue. Can I also say that the United States is free to organize its own
jurisdiction as it sees fit, as a free and democratic country. Any action taken
on the extradition issue will be taken with full respect of Spanish and United
We are also working on this issue at the European Union level, and we do hope
to reach agreement on that issue in the very near future.