SPANISH Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will travel to the United States for his first formal talks with President Donald Trump later this month.
The announcement by government spokesman Iñigo Mendez de Vigo comes after the two leaders met briefly in May during the Atlantic Alliance Summit in Brussels, and again in June at the G-20 conference in Hamburg.
Rajoy will arrive in Washington on September 25 and is to stay at Blair House, the traditional residence of high-ranking foreign visitors, before meeting Trump for lunch at the White House the following day.
The meeting takes place five days before Cataluña aims to carry out an unauthorised independence referendum, and Madrid-based media outlets are reporting the invitation as a show of support for the Spanish leader.
It is expected that the pair will also discuss the fight against terrorism, bilateral relations, the European Union, and North Korea.
Spain is keen to remain a strong ally of the US, which since 2011 has stationed four warships at the military base in Rota, Cadiz to bolster NATO’s missile defence system.
A US Air Force squadron is also headquartered at the Moron Air Base in Sevilla.