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Our financial system has the necessary guarantees, Spanish leader told CNBC

Interview with the President of the Spanish Government, Jose Luis Zapatero, on the television station CNBC (Excerpts)

Q. You are looking to take new measures for the economy to be more competitive. You have announced privatisations and you have said, in regard to the regional savings banks, that their consolidation is going to continue. Can you categorically state that the Spanish banking sector is in good health and has sufficient capital?

President of the Government. Absolutely. It is not only healthy, it has sufficient capital; the sector has done its homework, it continues to do so, and furthermore, it is going to be one of the most attractive financial systems for investments. It is going to be one of the most efficient and one of the most profitable. We were two or three years ago and it has maintained its fundamental strength and we have the capacity to make the necessary reforms.

Hence all investors should feel confident that our financial system has the necessary guarantees, it has the capacity for reform, modern legislation and a strength that will enable us in a reasonable period of time to subscribe to Basel III.

Q. You have spoken about private capital. What is your position with regard to those with these funds? The investors are looking to you. Can you guarantee that no private investor with Spanish sovereign debt will suffer cuts?

President of the Government. Absolutely. This has been one of the hallmarks of Spanish sovereign debt, of the Spanish Treasury, which is one of the most highly rated treasuries in the world.

Whatever may be said, that is the reality and good investors, those investors who have always worked with Spanish public debt, know that and this is a guarantee of the Government of Spain, above all else.

Q. When do you think we are to see growth again?

President of the Government. There have been certain analyses made by the Monetary Fund - and just yesterday I read one by JP Morgan - saying that, with the application of the reform that Spain has underway, Spain will be one of the most attractive countries in 2011 and 2012 for investment in the stock markets, and the IMF said that Spain could be one the countries in the European Union with highest growth by 2012 or 2013.

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