The Spanish ambassadors posted to the Americas met here Wendesday with Spain's secretary of state for International Cooperation and Ibero-America, Jesus Gracia, to review Madrid's policy toward Latin America.

In a ceremony attended by Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli and Foreign Minister Fernando Nuñez Fabrega, Gracia emphasized that it is no coincidence that more than 30 percent of Spanish foreign investment is targeted at Latin America.

"Spanish investment is going to continue being a fundamental axis of Spain's activity in Latin America," Gracia said.

Participating in the meeting, which will last until Friday behind closed doors at a Panama City hotel, are Madrid's ambassadors accredited in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, including the envoys to the United States and the Organization of American States.

Speakers at the opening of the conference included Juan Antonio Mielgo, an executive with Spanish telecom giant Telefonica, and Fernando Casado, the director of Spain's Business Council for Competitiveness.

Casado said that the Spanish economy is now experiencing a significant change and that expectations are that "for next year we will have annual growth of 0.8 percent."

"Spain is a success story and we're going to continuing being one," he said.

This is the first time Panama has been chosen to be the location for a regional conference of Spanish ambassadors, this during a year in which the country will be the site of the Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government in October and the Congress of the Spanish Language.

"Panama is this year's Ibero-American capital," Gracia said. EFE