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Palabras de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias en el World Affairs Council

Estados Unidos de América, 09.06.1995


​t the threshold of the 21st century, the world context, in which Spain is fully integrated, has been radically altered by the massive changes that have recently taken place in the structure of international relations. However, Spain to a large extent continues to be as it was centuries ago- a Western nation, European and Mediterranean, with a deep Latin American tradition. Above these changes in our immediate environment, the weight of our constant interests continues to condition our foreign policy actions.

Indeed both geographical and History have given us an unrenounceable mandate based upon which the three major guidelines of Spanish Foreign Policy are defined: Europe, Latin America and the Mediterranean, the latter with great emphasis in the Magreb and Middle East.

For obvious geographical, historical, cultural and political reasons, our European compromise is the first and foremost of the master guidelines of Spanish Foreign Policy. It may be layed out in tour branches:

1.- The first one reefers to our active participation in the process of European construction. Since Spain became a member of the European Union in 1986, it has dynamically partaken in the process of the Community, with the belief that European Union is the key element to guarantee stability and prosperity in our Continent.

Spain presided over the Community with great success in 1989, and later ratified the European Union Treaty in 1992. Starting July 1st, we will assume the Presidency of the European Union for the second time.

During this second presidency, we will be undertaking a double responsibility: one to ensure an effective steering of the Union, and two, to prepare the Inter-Governmental Conference of 1996, in which the Union members will negotiate the revision of their treaties.

Our objectives for this Presidency match the main objectives of our current foreign policy. They include the strengthening of the economy and the generation of employment: the fostering of security in Europe; the impulse of a new strategy of peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean, beginning with the Barcelona Summit to be held this year in November and finally to reinforce our traditional ties with Latin America through the completion of bilateral and interregional agreements.

2.- The second main guideline of our European policy is the necessary attention to our bilateral relations with members of the Union, especially our immediate neighbours. The diplomatic tools we use are summits and seminars at a high ranking officials level, which we hold periodically with Portugal, Germany, France and Italy, with the objective of organizing the bilateral cooperation in the political, cultural, economical and security fields.

Particularly intense are the bilateral relations with our two continental neighbours, Portugal and France, with which we share an important policy of cooperation and over-the-border development.

3.- The third major guideline of our European action refers to the need to guarantee the stability and security of Europe. In order to achieve it, we must adjust the European system of Stability and security to the new reality of Eastern Europe.

Our policy in this field has three purposes: first we aim for the current Organizations (European Union, Western European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and European Council) to complement each other and, at the same time, to adjust them to present times. Second, we are in the process of developing a common security and defense policy that will give the European Union and identity in these matters of; and third, we see the preservation of the transatlantic relation embodied in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as essential.

In terms of Transatlantic relations, I would like to emphasize that the Spanish Foreign Policy particularly values our bilateral relations with the United States of America.

Our historical affection toward the United States pent me to digress a little dates as far back as the Independence days of the U.S. itself, those days in which Spain participated actively from what was then the Crown Territories through which the now States of Florida and Texas extend, with the outstanding military intervention of Governor Gálvez. Our cultural links are yet even older: the oldest city in this beautiful country - San Agustin - was founded and settled by Spain, as were many of the cities and towns scattered across the Californian geography that to this day bear Spanish names.

And now, that we look toward the 21st century, we continue to share the legacy of Spanish culture, so prolific in this country and especially in this unique state of California, which I have had the pleasure of visiting these last days.

In a pure political framework, as a result of the signature of the Defense Cooperation Agreement in 1988, the relations between Spain and the United States of America have reached an excellent level of quality and cooperation, sustained both by the friendly interchange of Heads of State and Government visits, (Iike the recent visit of H.M. the King of Spain to Washington, D.C.) and by contributions given in especially sensible instances like the Gulf War Crisis.

4.- Now going back to Europe, the fourth objective of our European action is the sharp increase of our bilateral relations with Eastern European countries, with the ultimate goal of helping in their stability and full democratization.

We are especially interested (as you are) in the stability of Russia and other former Soviet republics, which we help through political dialogue and economic aid to facilitate their evolution toward pluralistic political regimes and market economies.

We are also making a considerable effort to search for a peace solution in the former Yugoslavia. Aside from our political contribution in the peace talks, as members of the European Union, NATO and the Western European Union (WEU), as well as of the Security Council last year, we have contributed since 1992 with aerial, terrestrial and naval forces in joint operations "OENY FLIGHT", UNPROFOR, and "SHARP GUARO", as well as in assistance and embargo operations of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and in numerous humanitarian aid programs. [ would like to take the opportunity at this point to pay tribute to those men and women of UN forces and other Humanitarian organizations who are putting their lives at risk for the sake of others and for Peace in the region].

Turning our focuss across the Atlantic, our Latin American rule, beyond any comparison, is the most constant course of our foreign action. It is a whole part of Spanish national identity and adds grandeur to it, bestowing two of the utmost decisive characteristics of Spanish exterior projection: its universality and its endurance, both linked to the historical expansion of our language and culture, which so strongly have rooted, settled and continue their endless sprouting in the New World.

Spain's Latin American Foreign Policy has two main objectives:

First , to impulse and consolidate the Community of Ibero-American Nations which consists of an old project that is becoming a reality through the annual Ibero-American Heads of State and Government Summits. Since the first one was held in Mexico in 1991, others have followed in Madrid, -matching the Quin Centenary of the Spanish Discovery of America- in Brazil and in Colombia, with Argentina being this year’s host country.

The Ibero-American Community of Nations represents the institutionalization -in a political frame- of an existing reality that dates back centuries: that of a supranational community in continuous expansion and contact, through one of the most dynamic and creative social networks in the world: our common cultural heritage.

The second objective of our Latin-American policy is to give incentive to the development and the complete integration of Latin America in the international context.

We develop this policy on several fronts: through cooperation and promotion of Spanish investment; by steering European Union relations toward Latin America, with the current specific objective of encouraging the negotiation and completion of cooperation agreements with MERCOSUR, Mexico and Chile; also, we actively support peace and national reconciliation processes -as is now the case in El Salvador and Guatemala- and every attempt to salve conflict through dialogue; and finally by offering unconditional support to the consolidation of democracy and to the honouring of human rights.

And now we arrive to the cradle of European Civilization: The Mediterranean Basin. Purposely, I shall emphasize its importance for Spain’s and Europe’s future development in a safe and stable environment. From the Magreb to the Middle East, the entire Mediterranean area is an extremely interesting and worrisome area for us. Because of its geographical proximity and historial links, our Mediterranean action leans somewhat more to Northern Africa than to the Eastern Mediterranean region.

In this regard, the Magreb is at this time an area of crucial importance to Spanish foreign policy. The area is continuosly under strong demographic, social, economical and cultural stress, the consequences of which affect us more often and more profoundly every day. This fact has shown us the need to foster numerous initiatives to try to bring more stability and prosperity to the area.

The most significant initiatives can be categorized as follows:

- A bilateral political dialogue, especially with Morocco, a country with which we maintain privileged bonds of friendship and cooperation, gathered in an agreement and corroborated in annual summits.

- The Promotion of Spanish direct Investment in Industries and Manufactures.

- Programs of bilateral cooperation and vast infrastructure projects such us the permanent linkage of Europe and African through the Straight of Gibraltar Tunnel and the pipeline crossing through Algeria and Morocco that will connect Europe to Africa very soon.

- Our undivided support to the United Nations Secretary General Peace Plan for the Western Sahara.

- Cooperation in cultural projects to further communication and promote education exchange programs.

- And our active participation in regional multilateral projects, such us the "Five plus Five Dialogue" (halted by the Libyan crisis as a result of the Lockerbie case) and the "Mediterranean Forum."

- With regard to the Middle East, Spain has al so traditionally developed a foreign policy of special relevance based upon the sol id links of friendship with Arab Countries, maintained and intensified during Middle East conflicts.

It has always been our policy to reject resorting to threats or to the use of force as a way to salve disputes. We have backed the claims of the Palestinian people and we have advocated the pacific coexistence of all the States in the Region -within secure and internationally recognized frontiers- as well as the opening of a negotiating table in which the PLO had to be a key player.

This stance, together with our balanced relations with all the parties involved, positioned us well to impulse the peace process, which would later yield important results in the Madrid Conference, held in October of 1991.

Currently, Spain is still strongly engaged in the Peace Process, and continuous to play an active role in its consolidation and normalization.

With the foregoing in mind, our special preoccupation with the Mediterranean area has driven us to promote an action -within the core of the European Union- aimed both at improving relations between the Union and the associated Mediterranean countries, and at balancing its intense policy toward the East with a renewed focus towards the South.

The starting point of this European strategy for the Mediterranean will be the European-Mediterranean Summit, which will be held during Spain's Presidency on the 27th and 28th of November in Barcelona, with the participation of the fifteen members of the Union and all of the Mediterranean Countries associated institutionally to the Union. This will include the main States of the Magreb and the Middle East.

The idea is to establish a new global blueprint of relations amongst the associated Mediterranean shore countries within the frame of a "Euro-Mediterranean Association", to be integrated by three main project groups: the economic, financial and sectorial cooperation project group, which can lead to the creation of a free-trade European-Mediterranean zone: the social and cultural cooperation project group, which will foster tolerance and respect for cultural and religious diversity in the region and will study immigration problems and lastly the cooperation in security and political frameworks project group.

The three great dimensions of our foreign policy, Europe, Latin America and the Mediterranean that we have just reviewed, are accompanied by other measures of foreign action which supplement, impulse and secure them.

They are what we could call horizontal policies, specific policies oriented toward our actions as a Member State of the International Community, in the scope of multilateral relations, of peace and security, of cooperation on development issues, and of human rights. These policies define our convictions, worries and interests, born from the strong belief that by contributing with our external actions to the construction of a wealthier environment -more equitable, unprejudiced and peaceful- we are helping to guarantee the peace, the justice and the prosperity of our own country.

Spanish multilateral policy has adapted to the changes of recent years, to the growing raje of the United Nations in the international scene, especially in the peace and security fields. Spain is the ninth contributor to the United Nations, it has been a member of the U.N. Security Council for the last two years and it has participated substantially in the Operations for Peace Maintenance in Central America, Africa and the former Yugoslavia.

The Spanish policy for peace and security has three basic sections: first to develop the commitments that we have assumed in the frame of the defensive alliances to which we belong, NATO, and the Western European Union; to participate actively in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; and third, to contribute to the advancement of arms reduction causes - Spain being a member of all the active agreements- in the European as well as in the global scenario.

The Spanish policy of cooperation on development is more and more, an important part of our exterior effort. Deepely rooted in Spanish public opinion ethics we find the  moral obligation to help countries in need, and in the past few years this public opinion ethics has been corresponded with significant increments in our official aid to development, all of which places Spain -in this respect- at the same level as that of our neighbours.

Our Human Rights Policy is developed both in bilateral and multilateral frames. In the bilateral framework this is done through management and specific aid and support of non-governmental organizations; in the multilateral framework it is accomplished essentially through our participation in the ruling activity of the United Nations and in the efforts of the International Commission of Human Rights to supervise the enforcement of the prevailing rules.

To conclude this brief overview of Spanish Foreign Policy, I would like to bring to your attention a vital and rich aspect of our projection in time and space: our language and culture. The values inherent in them which are the vehicle and essence of our identity, can hardly be exaggerated, owing to them much of our global projection.

Mr. President, distinguished guests, here are in sum the key elements and guidelines of our foreign policy, with which we will enter the new milenium. Spain, a Western, European and Mediterranean Nation stands firm in its commitment to a free and more just world.

Thank you.

Itzuli Hitzaldiak atalera
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