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Swedish royal couple arrives in Vienna

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Swedish royal couple arrives in Vienna
Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/Scanpix
14:27 CET+01:00
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia arrived Tuesday morning in Vienna for a three-day state visit to Austria, an AFP reporter witnessed.

The royal couple was welcomed with military honours by Austrian President Heinz Fischer and his wife Margrit in the courtyard of the Hofburg Imperial Palace in central Vienna.

The king and queen then accompanied the presidential couple down the 60 metre long red carpet leading to the former imperial residence as they reviewed the troops.

About a hundred people had gathered in front of the palace despite the biting cold to greet the Swedish royals on their arrival.

Later Tuesday, King Carl and Queen Silvia were to meet with Austrian parliament president Barbara Prammer, ahead of a state banquet at the Hofburg in the evening.

On Wednesday, the couple was to attend a Swedish economic forum in the morning, followed by lunch with Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer and a visit to UN headquarters in the afternoon, where they were to meet with the heads of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The three-day visit, which will end with a brief trip to Burgenland province, southeast of Vienna, on Thursday, comes after an invitation by former President Thomas Klestil during his state visit to Sweden in 1997.

Austria and Sweden have good bilateral relations and are seeking a closer trade partnership. The two countries joined the European Union on January 1st, 1995.

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