Tapes of meeting between Aznar and Bush

In the tapes Aznar asked Bush to help sway public opinion in Spain

El Pais has published the transcript of conversations held between the then President of Spain, José María Aznar, and the President of the United States, George Bush, in meetings held on 22nd february 2003, just a month before the invasion of Iraq, in the US President’s ranch in Texas. The main topic of the meeting was the possibility of a war against Sadam Hussein.

According to El País, Bush indicates in the tapes his disposal to invade Iraq in March 2003 whether he had a UN resolution or not. Bush is quoted as saying that it was necessary to get rid of Sadam’s regime and that the US military would be ready within two weeks. According to the newspaper the two men discuss a supposed offer by Saddam Hussein to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion.

Meanwhile José María Aznar is said to have highlighted the importance of gaining a UN resolution and asked Bush to make sure that everything was properly in place before invading Iraq.

According to the report, he told the US President that Spanish backing for US action was a momentous step for Spain and was something that would change the direction that Spanish politics had taken over the last 200 years.

It is also reported that José María Aznar asked Bush for help in swaying Spanish public opinion in favour of intervention in Iraq. It has also come to light that in the meeting neither Aznar or Bush expected much to result from the work of the UN weapons inspectors that had been sent to Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction.

El País, also states that during Aznar’s visit to the Texan ranch a fourway telephone conversation took place between Aznar, Bush, Tony Blair and the Italian president at the time, Silvio Berlusconi.

Javier Rupérez, who acted as Aznar’s interpreter and was present during the meeting is the source of the above information which until now has been kept secret by the Spanish Embassy in Washington.