President Sebastián Piñera brings rocks from the San Jose mine as a gift for the Queen of England

The President had an audience with Queen Elizabeth II during a scheduled visit with the top ministers of England, France and Germany to strengthen ties with those countries.

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Chilean President Sebastián Piñera is in Europe where he will be delivering rocks from the mine where 33 men were dramatically rescued, to the various world leaders he meets.

President Piñera, traveling with his wife, Cecilia Morel, met with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth II in London, and will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in discussions aimed at strengthening relations with those countries, in coming days.

The trip was scheduled long before the mining accident in the Atacama desert, but following the flawless rescue of the miners on Oct. 13, the President has brought a gift for each leader he meets – a rock from the mine and the now famous first message sent up from the depths of the mine. “All 33 of us are OK, in the refuge.”

“The Chilean people are not the same,” President Piñera was quoted by the BBC following a speech outside 10 Downing Street, the home of England’s Prime Minister David Cameron. “We have learned the lessons that when we work with unity, with faith, with hope, when we really put all our efforts and use the best technology, the best equipment and the best people to undertake huge challenges like this rescue and search effort, we are able to achieve goals.”

“Also, I am sure that Chile now is better known, is more respected, is more valued worldwide,” the Chilean President commented.

Earlier, in a televised interview with the BBC, the President said Chile discussed his plans to triple the budget of mining industry regulators and revise the country’s safety regulations.

“We have initiated a country effort to create a new treatment in terms of how to protect the lives, integrity, dignity and health of our workers,” he said.

On Sunday President Piñera visited sights in London, including the Cabinet War Rooms, from where Winston Churchill led the UK during World War II.

He also met with the manager of Manchester United Football Club, Sir Alex Ferguson, who gave the President and his wife signed football shirts and invited the 33 rescued miners to attend a match at the club’s stadium, Old Trafford.

This post is also available in Spanish