King of Spain and President Garcia sign strategic association agreement

King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofía of Spain, visiting the pre-Columbian site of Huaca de la Luna in Trujillo today, arrived Sunday for a two-day stopover in Peru prior to attending the 18th Ibero-American Summit to be held October 29-31 in El Salvador.

The official visit, with an aim to strengthen the bilateral relationship between both countries, includes the signature of a strategic association agreement, similar to those already signed by Spain with Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

The agreement was signed Monday by Peru’s President Alan García and King Juan Carlos during a private meeting held in Lima’s Government Palace and is to encourage development of institutional, economic and political relations between the two countries.

Since 1994, Spain is the source of 32 per cent of foreign capital in Peru, ranking first among the country’s foreign investors. Spanish investments, which total more than $4 billion, have mostly been made in telecommunications, services and finance.

King Juan Carlos was also awarded the Medal of Honor during an extraordinary session in Congress. It is the highest distinction awarded by the Peruvian Parliament. In the evening, a formal dinner was held at the government palace.

On Tuesday, the royal couple is to travel to the northern coastal city of Trujillo to tour the Huaca de la Luna, or “Shrine of the Moon,” a large adobe brick complex richly decorated in mural paintings and sculptured reliefs, built by the Moche and used between 500 and 800 AD.

Carlos Sabana Gamarra, dean of Trujillo’s National University, received the 4th Queen Sofia International Award for Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in 2005, on behalf of the archaeological project of Huaca de la Luna. The award has made restoration work possible.

This is the Spanish royal couple’s third visit to Peru since 1978, following the King’s coronation in 1975. On Wednesday, the royal couple will travel to El Salvador, where they will participate in the 18th Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, officially dedicated to Youth and Development.

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