Spain's Crown Prince Felipe will attend the Oct. 18 inauguration of the 23rd Ibero-American Summit in Panama, though Madrid is to be officially represented at the gathering by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The prince will take part in the opening ceremony and gala dinner in the absence of King Juan Carlos, who cannot attend the conference because he is recovering from hip surgery, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said Monday.

It will be the first Ibero-American Summit without the Spanish monarch since the inaugural gathering in 1991.

The palace repeated several times that Felipe is not attending in place of his father, since this is a meeting reserved for heads of state and government, and the highest Spanish representation would correspond to Rajoy.

Nonetheless, the palace and the Foreign Ministry managed to schedule an agenda of activities for the prince during the summit, at cultural and business events held in parallel to the meeting of Ibero-American leaders.

Among the most important of these events is the Oct. 20 inauguration of the 5th International Congress of the Spanish Language, which Felipe will preside over together with Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.

That same day the prince and Martinelli will take part in a commemoration of the 5th Centennial of the Discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa.

Prince Felipe knows personally all those at the Ibero-American Summit and maintains close ties with many of them. EFE