A Relationship that Dates Back Centuries

(President Barack Obama and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, right, attend a working lunch in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Oct. 13, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Today, President Obama welcomed Spanish President Zapatero to the Oval Office for a productive meeting on issues of immediate and mutal concern—Afghanistan and the economy were at the forefront of the discussion.  President Obama shared highlights of the discussion with members of the press:
The United States and Spain are NATO allies and our countries have a relationship that dates back centuries.  So on behalf of the American people I want to welcome you and deliver a strong message of friendship.
Spain and the United States are working together on some of the most difficult security issues that we face in the world.  And during the course of our lunch we discussed the situation in Afghanistan, and I thanked Prime Minister Zapatero for the partnership with Spanish forces in helping to bring security and stability to Afghanistan and to help train Afghans so that they can provide for their own security.
We discussed the Middle East, where the Prime Minister will be traveling after his visit to Washington.  And we both agreed that the time is right for a resumption of negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis in order to create two states that are living side by side in peace and security.
In addition, President Obama congratulated President Zapatero on his 2010 assumption of the EU presidency:
And I congratulated Prime Minister Zapatero on his assumption in 2010 of the E.U. presidency and pledged that the United States is going to be working closely with the E.U. on a whole range of issues -- from counterterrorism to Kosovo to dealing with improving relations with Russia -- even as we continue to move forward on further integration in Europe.
 
(President Barack Obama listens to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, left, as they speak with reporters in the Oval Office following their meetings at the White House, Oct. 13, 2009. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
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