Following her meeting at the Pentagon with the United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Defense Minister María Dolores de Cospedal stated, “the United States and Spain have a clear commitment to the fight against jihadist terrorism.” Cospedal also emphasized the close collaboration in defense between the two countries “for the past six decades,” establishing a strategic relationship between both nations.
This meeting, requested by the Trump Administration, was the first official gathering of the nations’ top defense officials since Cospedal and Mattis met in Brussels at a meeting of the Defense Ministers of NATO in February.
The Minister also highlighted that “the transatlantic alliance and the bond between Europe and the United States must be strengthened” and “go further in common goals, in the fight against terrorism and the new attack mechanisms that jeopardize our way of life.”
Cospedal pointed out that “we need to remain a part of multinational organizations, such as the NATO, and, in our case, also strengthen European security and defense, which is Spain’s intention. Because a stronger Europe and a stronger security and defense policy result in a more robust, important, and prepared NATO in facing the challenged that we have in front of us.”
Regarding the borders of states and multinational organizations, Minister Cospedal asserted that “there is another type of border, not only physical, such as the difference in per capita income that we have between Spain and our neighbors to the south. We are the only country in the EU that has a physical border with Africa. That gap, without a doubt, is one of the most important challenges we face.”
For these reasons, the Minister noted that “our investment in defense must be maintained and we must honor that commitment, which is very important to our country.” In this way, Minister Cospedal communicated to Secretary James Mattis Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s commitment to fulfill the percentage agreed upon by all NATO member states: dedicating 2% of GDP to defense spending within one decade.
First thing in the morning, María Dolores de Cospedal visited Arlington National Cemetery, where she paid tribute to fallen soldiers and witnessed the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. She then went to the Pentagon, headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, where she met with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.