MADRID, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May visited acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for a working lunch in the Spanish capital of Madrid on Thursday.
This is May's first visit to Spain since replacing David Cameron as prime minister in the wake of the June 23 "Brexit" referendum saw Britain vote to leave the European Union (EU) and the first visit since Cameron visited Spain on April 8, 2013.
Rajoy tweeted before the meeting that "he and Theresa May would work together to preserve the important connections between Spain and the United Kingdom," and after the meeting the Spanish government website released a communique.
This communique assured Rajoy had "repeated his sorrow at the British decision and explained Spain's priorities at this undesired situation."
Rajoy explained to May that he would "defend" Spain's interests and the "rights of its citizens and Spanish's companies which could be harmed by the new situation."
Just as thousands of Spaniards live and work in Britain, Spain is home to a more British citizens than any other country in the EU, with an estimated 500,000 many of them retired making their homes there.
Meanwhile Spain is also the most popular destination for British tourists, with 13 million visiting the country in 2015, a figure that looks certain to rise in 2016.
The communique bore these in mind, adding that the "British who reside in Spain, the millions of tourists who visit us every year and the British companies established here can be calm," as Spain will continue to work to "maintain" its close bilateral relationship with Britain.