Scotland

Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto visits Aberdeen

Mr Nieto and Angelica Rivera Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Nieto and his wife Angelica Rivera have been on a three-day state visit to the UK

The president of Mexico has visited Aberdeen to sign a memoranda of understanding on collaboration in the energy sector.

Enrique Pena Nieto met senior senior representatives of the oil and gas industry during a ceremony at the city's Town House.

It was the final day of his state visit to the UK.

Human rights groups have called for concerns to be raised about an upsurge in torture cases in Mexico.

Mr Pena Nieto was joined by Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, UK Energy Minister Matthew Hancock and Scottish External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

He also met Aberdeen Lord Lieutenant George Adam and Aberdeen City Council chief executive Angela Scott during the event.

Fuel supplies

During his three-day state visit he has attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen, taken part in a business leaders' breakfast meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Palace, met opposition leader Ed Miliband and delivered the Canning Lecture at Lancaster House.

His visit to the north east of Scotland follows discussions with David Cameron on future co-operation in the oil and gas sector as part of Europe's efforts to diversify the sources of its fuel supplies away from Russia during the ongoing stand-off over Ukraine.

The prime minister hosted the Mexican leader for lunch at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, after which Mr Cameron's official spokesman said Mr Pena Nieto "very much agreed with what the PM and other international leaders have set out about how Russia's actions in the context of Ukraine means we can't, as an international community, have 'business as usual' relations with Russia".

The spokesman said Mr Cameron had also raised the issue of human rights and judicial reform in Mexico.

Amnesty International UK says the nation's nine-year-long "war on drugs" has seen more than 100,000 killings and some 22,000 disappearances.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protests have been held in Mexico over the abduction of 43 trainee teachers

Mr Pena Nieto has also faced public 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.

Mr Carmichael launched Amnesty's Stop Torture campaign in Scotland in May last year, which highlights a number of countries of concern, including Mexico.

Siobhan Reardon, Amnesty International Scotland's programme director, said: "Torture is out of control in Mexico and President Pena Nieto needs to radically overhaul his country's woeful response to this crisis.

"Alistair Carmichael has shown his public support for Amnesty's campaign to stop torture and we'd like to see him raising this issue directly with the Mexican president.

"Mr Pena Nieto's visit to Aberdeen shouldn't just be about oil."

A spokeswoman for Mr Carmichael said: "The coalition government routinely discusses security, justice and human rights issues with the Mexican government, including at the highest levels. Indeed the deputy prime minister and President Pena discussed these topics in their meeting on Wednesday.

"Should the opportunity present itself in Aberdeen, the Scottish secretary will also raise human rights with the president."

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