Spanish King to Visit Beirut Next Week

Spain's King Felipe VI is expected to visit Beirut next Tuesday to meet with several Lebanese officials and members of his country's contingent in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, local dailies reported.

The king will be accompanied by a high ranking ministerial delegation, said the newspapers.

His visit would be a show of support to his country's peacekeepers after the killing of a Spanish soldier during the Israeli military's exchange of fire with Hizbullah in January in the disputed border area of Shebaa Farms.

The Spanish monarch will also meet with Prime Minister Tammam Salam, who is expected to throw a dinner banquet in his honor after their meeting, the reports said.

Felipe's visit to Beirut would be the first since he acceded to the throne last June after his father 76-year-old Juan Carlos abdicated.

Juan Carlos had met with Lebanese officials in Beirut in February 2010 during which he also inspected Spanish peacekeepers.

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