Australia's prime minister welcomes visit by Swedish royal couple

Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Sunday welcomed a visit by Sweden's royal couple, which is to include a trip to Ayers Rock in the rugged Outback.

Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia were to arrive in Australia late Sunday and begin their official tour in the capital, Canberra, on Monday.

"I speak for all Australians in welcoming the king and queen of Sweden, and look forward to building on the positive relationship between our two countries," Howard said in a statement.

"Australia and Sweden enjoy a long-standing and warm friendship, underpinned by our people-to-people contacts and close cooperation on a range of fields," he added.

During their time in Canberra, King Gustaf and Queen Silvia are to attend a luncheon hosted by the prime minister and a state dinner with Governor-General Michael Jeffery _ the British queen's representative in Australia.

Later in the week, the royal couple are to visit the landmark Ayers Rock, or Uluru, in the Northern Territory, where they will attend a traditional Aboriginal ceremony.

The state visit runs from Monday until Nov. 12, AP reported. V.A.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team