U.S. President Barack Obama will hold his first meeting at the White House with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday, with the recovery of Spain's economy and the economic reform process among the issues to be discussed.
The meeting comes nearly two years after Obama invited Rajoy to visit Washington and following a series of meetings between the leaders at which the state of the Eurozone and Spanish economies was the main topic on the agenda.
Economic issues will be front and center again on Monday, but Rajoy is expected to highlight the fact that the situation in Spain is much improved from just one year ago, with talk about the need for a rescue fading and economic figures pointing to a recovery, Spanish officials said.
The issue of spying on European countries, including Spain, by the National Security Agency is not on the meeting's agenda, but Spanish officials said it might still be addressed.
Obama and Rajoy will discuss bilateral relations in general, security and defense cooperation, and the negotiations between the European Union and the United States on a free trade agreement.
The situations in North Africa and Latin America are also on the agenda.
Rajoy arrived in Washington on Sunday with a delegation that includes, among others, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Gonzalo de Benito, Secretary of State for Communications Carmen Martinez Castro, Cabinet chief Jorge Moragas and Economic Affairs Office director Alvaro Nadal.
The Spanish prime minister's first official event will be the placing of a wreath Monday at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
Rajoy will meet with Obama and will later go from the White House to the International Monetary Fund for a meeting with the international financial institution's managing director, Christine Lagarde.
The prime minister will end the day with an event at Spanish Ambasador to the United States Ramon Gil Casares's residence, where he will present the Great Cross of Isabella the Catholic to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. EFE