Page last updated at 22:54 GMT, Monday, 30 March 2009 23:54 UK

Mexican leader praises the Queen

Felipe Calderon, The Queen
The state banquet menu was made up of traditional British produce

The president of Mexico has praised the Queen for her "composure and wisdom" in a tribute during a state banquet held in his honour at Buckingham Palace.

Felipe Calderon and his wife are guests of the Queen during a four-day state visit to the UK for the G20 summit.

Mr Calderon praised the Queen for her leadership in the "critical moments" during her 57-year reign.

Earlier thousands arrived to greet the president, who has also met the prime minister and armed forces chiefs.

'Great nation'

The Mexican president told the monarch: "On this singular occasion I want to express my personal admiration for the composure and wisdom with which you have led the institutional life of England during the critical moments this great nation and the world have faced.

Mr Calderon also praised Britain's cultural past, telling the guests: "This country is also the cradle of economic thinking and free markets that today also permit the sharing of ideas and scientific progress.

"The world would not be the same without the British genius. Your language is the Latin of the modern era and allows dialogue and co-operation between all the peoples on the planet."

The magnitude and the nature of global challenges call for the consensus of all the developed economies and the emerging economiese
Mexican president Felipe Calderon

The Queen spoke before the president and praised the ties between their two countries.

She said: "Mr president you have often spoken of your wish to see more of Mexico in the world and more of the world in Mexico.

"You may be assured of the United Kingdom's support for your country's important, emerging economy to play a fuller role in today's world."

At an earlier press conference Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "The success of emerging economies is the key to all our future prosperity."

Mr Calderon said Mexico was "convinced global problems needed global solutions".

"I would like to recognise the wonderful work that Prime Minister Gordon Brown has done in the pursuit of an international consensus which is so badly needed to confront this global crisis," he said.

Mr Calderon and his wife Margarita Zavala were greeted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in Horse Guards Parade, followed by Mr Brown, Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

'Close collaboration'

Armed forces chiefs were also on hand led by Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff, and the heads of the Navy, Air Force and Army.

The president inspected the troops from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.

He then left for Buckingham Palace followed by dignitaries in a procession of horse-drawn carriages.

On Monday evening, guests at a state banquet in his honour dined on traditional British produce.

The four-course menu featured pan fried-halibut, beef fillet, a yoghurt-based dessert filled with redcurrants from the Queen's Balmoral estate, and fresh fruit.

The Queen and Mexican president
The leader is staying at Buckingham Palace as a guest of the Queen

Mr Brown said the visit would deal with issues such as trade, climate change, education, and co-operation on foreign policy.

The relationship also included the UK's "close collaboration on the global economic challenges that our two countries and the whole world face."

The time had gone when a few world leaders could gather to make decisions about the global economy, he said.

"With over 60% of the world's economic growth in the past decade coming from emerging markets and developing economies the old approach is no longer sufficient, and the success of emerging economies is the key to all our future prosperity," he said.

"We are all in this together and we need to move forward to recovery together," he added.

He said he was pleased Mr Calderon was going to visit Scotland on Tuesday - with the Duke of York - to meet British companies in the energy sector.

Magnitude

Mr Calderon said the two leaders had agreed the UK and Mexico would jointly explore "opportunities of economic co-operation" in sectors such as electronics and communications, and energy.

"Mexico has a robust programme to attract investment in renewable energy sector.

"British companies will always be welcome, in particular because they are internationally recognised given their efficiency and technological advancement," he said.

The Mexican leader added that he would attend the G20 "with a firm conviction that the magnitude and the nature of global challenges call for the consensus of all the developed economies and the emerging economies in the world."



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