Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met today with Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez in Madrid. After their meeting, Secretary Clinton said:
"Thank you so very much, Trini, for those warm words, and also for the excellent working relationship that we have. And the meeting we just completed demonstrated that once again. It was a wide-ranging, comprehensive discussion of so many of the important issues, not only the bilateral issues, but regional and global issues, as well. And it underscores the enduring relationship between the United States and Spain.
"We are very grateful that the ties between our two nations run deep. Our alliance is rooted in enduring bonds of history and heritage, and they spring from our shared values. Spain is a trusted partner and a valued friend. And together we are leading members of a Transatlantic community that remains an unrivaled force for peace, progress, and prosperity in the world.
"As the foreign minister said, we not only discussed a wide range of issues, but we enhanced our cooperative relationship in a number of areas. Let me just mention a few.
"I thanked the foreign minister for Spain's contributions to the NATO/ISAF mission in Afghanistan, and expressed my condolences to the government and to the families of those Spanish soldiers killed and injured in the last week.
"This month we are beginning the transition to Afghan responsibility, and it will be completed in 2014. I want to applaud the Spanish forces for their bravery and skill, and especially for the excellent work that is being done training the Afghan police force. I am also grateful for the Spanish investment in health care services in Badghis Province, including the construction of a maternity and pediatric center. We agreed on the importance of moving forward with unity and urgency on all three tracks in Afghanistan: military, civilian, and diplomatic.
"We also discussed our shared conviction that Qadhafi needs to stop the assault on the Libyan people, and leave power. We appreciate Spain's contributions to enforcing the no-fly zone and the arms embargo. The NATO-led mission is on track. The pressure on Qadhafi is mounting. And the rebels have been gaining strength and momentum. We need to see this through, and we are in complete agreement that we will.
"There is hardly a major global challenge that we are not working on together. Spain is a strong presence at the G20 as a permanent participant. And we are partners at the nuclear security summit and in food security, climate change, and shared endeavors in Haiti and elsewhere. We work especially closely throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, where Spain's continued investment in strong democracies and economies is having a real impact.
"Earlier this month, both the foreign minister and I were together in Guatemala, where we joined with other donors to announce a major package of support for Central America's fight against drug traffickers and criminal organizations. And today we continued our conversation about how together we can enhance citizen safety across Latin America.
"Our close connections extend to our economic relationship. Under President Zapatero's leadership, the Spanish Government has taken important steps to strengthen its finances, restructure its banking sector, and improve its competitiveness. We understand how difficult those steps are, and we know that Spain still faces significant challenges as it works to consolidate its finances, bring down unemployment, and overcome the legacy of the global economic crisis.
"So, I know that the Spanish Government will continue the process of reform, and I want publicly to say how much we understand that this takes time and patience to make these changes, and to see them through. It is our hope that European leaders continue to make sure that Europe's response to the crisis is strong, flexible, and effective.
"As I told the foreign minister, Spain can count on the unwavering friendship, not only of the United States Government, but of the American people. Spain is the second-fastest growing investor in the United States, and the United States is one of Spain's largest trading partners. As we each seek to create jobs for our people and grow our economies, we will work together to expand investment and trade between our countries. I had the chance yesterday evening to take a walk in beautiful Madrid, and I saw so many Americans. (Laughter.) So I know that American support for the Spanish economy is strong.
"So, my friend, my colleague, this is a full agenda. And I am delighted to be working so closely with you. Our interests and our values converge, and I thank you again for your hospitality and friendship. And I thank also the Spanish people for their commitment to our very strong alliance."
You can read the full transcript of Secretary Clinton's remarks with Foreign Minister Jimenez here.