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Spain's King Juan Carlos greets Mexican president a week after announcing abdication plans

Queen Sofia, centre, talks to Crown Prince Felipe, left, as she points at King Juan Carlos, right, during a military parade on Armed Forces day, in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, June 8, 2014. King Juan Carlos plans to abdicate and pave the way for his son, Crown Prince Felipe, to become the country's next king. The 76-year-old Juan Carlos oversaw his country's transition from dictatorship to democracy but has had repeated health problems in recent years. His popularity also dipped following royal scandals, including an elephant-shooting trip he took in the middle of Spain's financial crisis that tarnished the monarch's image. The king came to power in 1975, two days after the death of longtime dictator Francisco Franco. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

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Queen Sofia, centre, talks to Crown Prince Felipe, left, as she points at King Juan Carlos, right, during a military parade on Armed Forces day, in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, June 8, 2014. King Juan Carlos plans to abdicate and pave the way for his son, Crown Prince Felipe, to become the country's next king. The 76-year-old Juan Carlos oversaw his country's transition from dictatorship to democracy but has had repeated health problems in recent years. His popularity also dipped following royal scandals, including an elephant-shooting trip he took in the middle of Spain's financial crisis that tarnished the monarch's image. The king came to power in 1975, two days after the death of longtime dictator Francisco Franco. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

MADRID - Spain's King Juan Carlos has presided over a reception ceremony for Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in one of the monarch's last official acts before his announced abdication.

Pena Nieto was also welcomed by Queen Sofia and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at the Pardo Palace in Madrid on Monday. Nieto was accompanied by his wife Angelica Rivera de Pena and several government ministers for the three-day visit which aims to improve business ties between the two countries.

The reception came a week after the announcement that the 76-year-old king plans to end his four-decade reign in favour of his son, 46-year-old Prince Felipe.

The king, who is expected to leave the throne this month, said he was abdicating so that fresh royal blood can help rally the nation.

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