Argentine President Nestor Kirchner has met with Spanish King Juan Carlos, in a bid to strengthen ties between the two nations.

The two met Wednesday at the king's residence in Madrid and were to have lunch with the royal family afterward.  A palace spokesman said they discussed bilateral ties and the political and economic situation in Latin America.

On Thursday, Mr. Kirchner is expected to meet with Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and members of parliament.  Among other issues, they are expected to discuss terms of a $1 billion loan that Spain made to Argentina during the Latin American country's financial crisis in 2001 and 2002.

The Associated Press reports Mr. Zapatero invited Mr. Kirchner to his home to watch Wednesday's World Cup soccer match between Argentina and the Netherlands.