Spain's king stresses bilateral friendship, mutual trust before meeting Trump

    18 de junio de 2018

    San Antonio, Texas, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Spain's King Felipe VI said Monday, on the eve of his White House meeting with President Donald Trump, that relations between the two countries are marked by "friendship and mutual trust."

    Felipe emphasized Madrid's good relations with Washington at a forum of US Hispanic leaders at the end of his stay in San Antonio, Texas, with Queen Letizia.

    The monarchs' agenda for the day included a business forum and the inauguration of a large exhibit featuring the work of key Spanish painters over the last five centuries.

    The king wrapped up his visit by participating in the 6th Young Hispanic Leaders Summit organized by the Carolina Foundation.

    Felipe, who on Tuesday will celebrate his fourth anniversary on the throne, will meet with Trump for the first time with both Letizia and first lady Melania Trump.

    The meeting of the two couples will take place in the Oval Office and, later, the two leaders will hold a working session with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell.

    Mrs. Trump will invite the queen to tea elsewhere in the White House, the first lady's office told EFE.

    At the Hispanic leadership summit, the king said that "the recent history of relations between Spain and the US has been marked by friendship and mutual trust."

    "This understanding has roots that are centuries old," Felipe added, noting that it was Spaniards who founded the cities of St. Augustine, Florida, and San Antonio, the latter of which celebrates its 300th anniversary this year.

    He said that "the robust Hispanic imprint not only survives, but is also clearly and proudly visible" both in the Texas city and all across the US, where, he remarked, 59 million Hispanics live, almost double the figure from 20 years ago.

    The US is the country with the second-largest number of Spanish-speaking residents, after Mexico, and the king said that the language is "especially apt for expressing the emotional ... memory of cultures," urging the US to facilitate the expansion of knowledge of Spanish.

    Felipe told the young Hispanic leaders that Ibero-America is "one of the world's regions that includes a large number of democracies, which comprise a space that has as its guidelines the defense of basic rights, respect for the law and social cohesion" and he urged the summit attendees to "preserve the system of values and freedoms with more strength than ever."

    Earlier in the day, the king had urged the business forum to foster new opportunities for Spanish companies in Texas, where Spain has been the seventh-largest investor in recent years.