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Chile and Spain aim to expand strategic alliance

CHILE SPAIN | 22 de julio de 2014

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet (r) chats with Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria (l) at La Moneda Palace in Santiago. EFE

Santiago, Jul 22 (EFE).- Chile and Spain are intending to broaden the scope of the strategic alliance they established more than a year ago with the incorporation of reforms that are currently being implemented by both governments, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said here Tuesday.

"This is a good moment in bilateral relations. It's both governments' desire to work to strengthen them," she said at the close of a meeting in Santiago with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

At the meeting, the Chilean president confirmed that she will make an official visit to Spain on Oct. 29 during which she will meet with King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Chile and Spain signed a strategic association plan in May 2006, during Bachelet's first administration and with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero at the head of the Spanish government. In January 2013, their respective successors, Sebastian Piñera and Rajoy, signed a strategic alliance.

"It's a great satisfaction to be here. It's been a very fruitful meeting, at which we've been able to confirm the will of both states to work for the strategic alliance to which we have agreed and we continue taking important steps on that matter," Saenz de Santamaria said.

Education, energy and innovation are areas in which both governments want to strengthen their cooperation.

"We think that these three areas are basic for deepening (cooperation) in the agreements," said Saenz de Santamaria, who called attention to the fact that the two nations are undertaking at present "an intense reformist agenda."

The deputy prime minister's 24-hour stay in Chile also had an economic component in the form of the luncheon she held with the main Spanish businessmen with investments in the Andean nation.

Spain is the main foreign investor in Chile, with a total direct investment of $10.5 billion between 2009 and 2012.

Spanish companies are undertaking in Chile projects of great significance in the infrastructure area, as well as in financial services, water and electricity.

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