Spanish king suspends France visit in wake of Germanwings air crash

PM Mariano Rajoy sends messages of condolence in press conference and via Twitter

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, pictured this morning at Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez airport.
King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, pictured this morning at Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez airport.Javier Lizon (EFE)

King Felipe VI of Spain has canceled an official visit to France as a mark of respect for the victims of the air accident that took place on Tuesday, in which 150 people are thought to have died, 45 of whom had Spanish surnames.

The king, who was already in Paris with Queen Letizia, made the announcement outside the Élysée Palace in the presence of French President François Hollande. He said he had taken the decision after speaking to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. “This was a journey that we were very excited about,” he said. “We will look for another date.”

King Felipe also thanked the French government for “all of their efforts” and send out a message of support to “all of the families of the victims.”

The king arrived in Paris for the state visit minutes after news of the accident broke

Accompanied by Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo, Spain’s monarch arrived in Paris to begin his first official state visit since becoming king last June minutes after news broke about the accident. They were then received by the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, who, according to sources from Spain’s Zarzuela royal household, is in permanent contact with the rescue teams on the site of the crash and passed on the first details of the accident to the Spanish royals.

Meanwhile, Rajoy himself expressed his concern over the crash on Twitter. “Saddened by the air crash in the Alps. A tragedy. We will work with the French and German authorities on the investigation. MR,” the Popular Party politician wrote via his official account on the micro-blogging site.

Rajoy later appeared at a press conference in Vitoria, in the north of Spain, and announced that he had spoken to German president Angela Merkel about what he called a “deeply sad and dramatic accident.” The prime minister also said that the news he had was still “preliminary” but added that the information available suggested that it had been “a very serious accident, very sad, and with a dramatic loss of many human lives.”


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