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BARACK OBAMA

Obama invites Spanish PM to White House

President Barack Obama will welcome Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to the White House on January 13, in the wake of US spying allegations that have rattled Washington's relations with Madrid.

Obama invites Spanish PM to White House
Obama and Rajoy met during a 2012 Nuclear Security Summit at the COEX Center in Seoul. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP

The White House said in a statement that the talks would focus on a proposed US-EU trade pact, transatlantic issues and common security challenges in North Africa and the Middle East and elsewhere.

Washington's relations with Spain, like those with some other European allies have been strained by revelations about National Security Agency eavesdropping programs leaked by fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

In October, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that US security services tracked 60.5 million telephone calls in Spain in a single month.

The article, co-authored by US journalist Glenn Greenwald, was based on previously secret documents obtained by Snowden, who is now living in temporary asylum in Russia.

The US ambassador to Spain, James Costos, was summoned to explain the allegations at the Spanish foreign ministry.

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