United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has praised the “important” role Spain plays in Latin America and said the nation is a “great defender” of human rights in the region.
“Spain is an especially important partner in this hemisphere,” Clinton told reporters after meeting at the State Department with Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez.
The secretary thanked Spain for the role it has played, together with the Cuban Catholic Church, to secure the release of Cuba’s political prisoners.
Spain, Clinton recalled, is the second-biggest donor nation for international aid and development in Latin America, with particularly active programs in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico and Colombia.
“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,” the secretary said.
She also praised the work Spain has done in Haiti following the earthquake on January 12, 2010, working with other international partners in response to the emergency, donating food and medical supplies as well as contributing doctors and nurses.
For her part, Jimenez stressed the ties that unite Spain and the United States, and the fact that both share a “hopeful vision” for Central America.
Turning to other matters, Jimenez expressed Spain’s support for the commitment of President Barack Obama’s administration to close the prison at Guantanamo.
“Spain has already received three detainees from Guantanamo. We hope that the U.S. will continue its good efforts with the U.S. Congress in this regard and there will be continued and greater efforts from European countries to help to this end,” the Spanish foreign minister said.
About the war in Afghanistan, Clinton expressed gratitude for the efforts of Spanish troops in the fight against the insurgency in Badghis province, as well as their support in the training of police forces and in aiding rural communities.
In economic matters, the secretary of state acknowledged the challenging conditions that Spain is going through.
Nonetheless, she was thankful for the “decisive measures” adopted by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero 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,” Clinton said.