President may meet Menezes family during visit to Britain

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The Independent US

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is considering whether to meet relatives of a Brazilian man killed by British police in London last July after being mistaken for a suicide bomber, diplomats said.

The official part of Mr Lula's visit to Britain, for the signing of many bilateral agreements, could be overshadowed by a meeting with the family of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Alex Pereira, a cousin of Mr Menezes who lives in London, is seeking the meeting with the president.

The first state visit by a Brazilian president in almost a decade, during which Mr Lula will stay at Buckingham Palace and hold talks with Tony Blair, will have some unusual highlights.

Mr Lula, who is accompanied by seven cabinet members, is to take his Culture Minister, the musician Gilberto Gil, to the Barbican centre tomorrow. The Barbican is celebrating the Tropicalia revolutionary movement that made Gil's name in the 1960s, and Gil is expected to return to London to play at the three-month festival in May.

Gil, who spent years in exile in Britain during the Brazilian military dictatorship after fleeing the country in 1969, will have the opportunity to swap anecdotes with one of his British heroes at a banquet tomorrow night. The Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who does charitable work with children in Brazil, is among guests invited to Buckingham Palace for the banquet.

The left-wing president, who has vowed to fight poverty, will also see urban renewal at first hand when he is taken on a tour of a project close to the future Olympic village in east London by John Prescott.

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