Spanish monarchs congratulate new pope

Madrid, Mar 13 (EFE).- Spain's king and queen on Wednesday sent a telegram to Pope Francis I congratulating him on his election by the conclave of cardinals gathered at the Sistine Chapel in Rome to choose a successor to Benedict XVI.

According to a spokesman for the Royal Household, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia sent the message to the former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio congratulating him on being selected as the 266th pontiff.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy also sent the new pontiff a message of congratulation and expressed the willingness of the administration to maintain and strengthen "the special relations between the Holy See and Spain, on the basis of the profound values we share: life, human dignity, freedom, peace and justice."

Rajoy said he was "convinced" that during the papacy of Francis I the Catholic Church will be able to contribute "in a decisive manner to a better world, for the benefit of coexistence among all nations and religious beliefs."

Spain's foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, praised the election of the Argentine cardinal because "he speaks Spanish, which will contribute to Brand Spain."