Washington: US President Barack Obama on Tuesday told Spain`s king he wants to see the country "strong and unified," amid a strong independence drive in Catalonia.
Hosting King Felipe VI at the White House, Obama waded into a fierce political and constitutional row that has put Spain`s borders of almost 600 years into question.
"As a matter of foreign policy, we are deeply committed to maintaining a relationship with a strong and unified Spain," Obama said, sitting beside the young monarch.
"We think that Spain`s presence is important not only in Europe, but also in the United States and also in the world."
Catalans will vote in a regional election on September 27 that local politicians are billing as a de facto referendum on independence.
Felipe did not comment on the issue.
It was Felipe`s first visit to the White House since taking the throne just over a year ago, when his father Juan Carlos abdicated.
At the end of the meeting, Obama added also said he wanted to "travel to Spain before the end of my presidency."