UK

Mexican president begins UK state visit

Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto and David Cameron Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto and David Cameron will speak about human rights during the visit

The Queen has welcomed the president of Mexico to the UK at the beginning of a three-day state visit.

Enrique Pena Nieto and his wife, Angelica Rivera, joined the monarch, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prime Minister David Cameron in London.

As Mr Pena Nieto and Ms Rivera arrived a royal salute of 41 guns was fired by the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

The prime minister will also use the visit to raise human rights issues in Mexico, Downing Street said.

There has been growing pressure against the president over the abduction and apparent murder of 43 students.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Pena Nieto and his wife were greeted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall escorted the president and the first Lady, a former soap actress, to the ceremonial welcome at Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall, central London.

There they were met by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Home Secretary Theresa May and other dignitaries, including military chiefs.

The two heads of state shook hands and chatted for a few moments before the Queen introduced the senior members of her government.

In front of them was the guard of honour made up of servicemen from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and the Duke of Edinburgh escorted the president as he inspected the troops.

After the ceremony, a procession of seven coaches, accompanied by a Sovereign's Escort of the Household Cavalry, made its way to nearby Buckingham Palace with Mr Pena Nieto and the Queen travelling in the first carriage - the Diamond Jubilee State Coach.

Prince Philip and Ms Rivera followed behind in the Australian State Coach.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Pena Nieto and the Queen travelled in the first carriage, the Diamond Jubilee State Coach
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Pena Nieto was introduced to senior members of the government by the Queen
Image copyright PA
Image caption The Duke of Edinburgh escorted the president as he inspected a Guard of Honour at Horse Guards Parade

'Out-of-control torture'

Human rights campaigners are using the visit of Mr Pena Nieto, 48, to highlight what Amnesty International UK has described as "out-of-control" torture in Mexico.

The embattled leader has faced growing pressure and public unrest amid anger over the handling of the abduction and apparent murder of 43 trainee teachers by corrupt police in league with gang members.

The students' disappearance in Ayotzinapa in September sparked weeks of protests across Mexico against corruption and violence.

Downing Street said Mr Cameron will raise human rights issues in his talks with Mr Pena Nieto during a working lunch at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday.

Mr Cameron's official spokesman said: "You can expect the prime minister to raise concerns that have arisen with regard to human rights and the judicial system in Mexico.

"We have done so before and will continue to do that. We will do that in the spirit of collaboration that we have with the Mexican government and the Mexican authorities."

Mr Pena Nieto came under fire at the Oscars, when Mexican film director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu used his victory speech to declare: "I pray that we can build the government that we deserve."

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