Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a bilateral meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez at the Department of State on January 25, 2011. Their meeting is a follow-up to their talks at the NATO Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in November 2010. The counterparts discussed a variety of issues, such as mutual security, including the situations in Lebanon and Afghanistan, as well as fulfilling economic and development goals around the world.
Secretary Clinton underscored the strength of the U.S.-Spain relationship. She said, "The enduring partnership between the United States and Spain is rooted in friendship and common values. We are not only bilateral partners, but regional and global as well, and united in a shared vision for a world that is peaceful, secure, and prosperous.""We discussed the evolving situation in Lebanon where Spanish soldiers have served in the peacekeeping operations of UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, under a Spanish commander. We both share deep concerns about the influence of outside forces, and we hope to see a government emerge that will serve the interests of the people of Lebanon and sustain the independence and sovereignty of Lebanon.
"As NATO allies, we have worked closely and comprehensively to support the people of Afghanistan as they rebuild their country. Spanish troops are fighting the insurgency in Badghis Province and helping Afghan forces take lead responsibility for their own security. At the same time, civilian experts from Spain are helping Afghans grow food crops, train police forces, build roads that connect the country's far-flung rural communities.
"As global partners, we are working side by side to solve some of the most pressing problems. Both our countries are committed to fighting chronic hunger. Spain was one of the founding contributors to the World Bank's Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which has already helped farmers boost productivity, encouraged investments in high-yield technologies, and helped improve nutrition for women and children.
"With its historical and lasting ties with Spanish-speaking countries, Spain is an especially important partner in this hemisphere. We are working together to help the people and governments of Central America ensure safety and build prosperity. After the United States, Spain is the second largest donor of development assistance in the region, including its work with the Group of Friends, a consortium of governments and organizations that fosters aid donations. It is actively working in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Colombia, so many other places. And I want to thank the government and the people of Spain, especially during what I know are challenging economic conditions for all you are doing to help people get a better education, to help farmers, to help bring clean water and so much more to advance development. But I would expect no less, because Spain is a great champion for human rights not only in the Western Hemisphere but around the world.
"I expressed our thanks for its work with the Catholic Church to secure the release of political prisoners and for Spain's ongoing efforts to encourage Cuba to release Alan Gross, who has been harshly and unfairly jailed for too long. I also appreciate all the work that Spain is doing in Haiti. They have worked with a wide range of international partners donating food and medical supplies, providing doctors and nurses, and now working with us to ensure a legitimate, democratically elected government.
"Now, we have both been challenged by economic circumstances over the last two years. And Spain and the Spanish Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Zapatero, has taken decisive measures to reduce its debt, calm the markets, reassure other Eurozone partners that it's working toward financial stability. We know how important a healthy Spanish economy is.
"As we look toward the future, we see many, many challenges, but I feel much better and take great comfort in the fact that Spain and the United States will be working together."
You can read the Secretary's complete remarks here.