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Rome Reports

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Benedict XVI receives new Ambassador of Spain to the Vatican

His predecessor, Maria Jesús Figa presented her credentials just days before the beatification of John Paul II and accompanied the Spanish Princes to the ceremony.

Her time as ambassador was short but very intense, with Benedict XVI visiting Spain for World Youth Day in Madrid that was attended by nearly two million people.

The new ambassador, 54 year old Eduardo Gutiérrez graduated with a law degree and has served as a diplomat since 1985, working in Sudan, Uruguay and Mexico.

He has recently collaborated with Spain's Popular Party working in international politics. During these seven years of Benedict XVI's pontificate, there have been four Spanish ambassadors: Jorge Dezcallar, Francisco Vázquez, Maria Jesus Figa and now Eduardo Gutiérrez.

The embassy of Spain to the Vatican is the oldest permanent diplomatic mission in the world. It was first opened in the year 1480 with Gonzalo de Beteta serving as its first ambassador. Over the years others have included intellectuals like Garcilaso de la Vega and military officers such as Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, known as the "Great Captainâ?.

BR/AE CTV - -BN