Mexico ‘regrets’ cancellation of Patil’s address

April 18th, 2008 - 7:49 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil
By Liz Mathew
Mexico City, April 18 (IANS) Mexico Friday “deeply, deeply” regretted cancelling Indian President Pratibha Patil’s address to a joint session of the Mexican parliament Thursday due to a domestic political stand-off over energy reforms. The English daily The News, which carried a picture of Patil and her Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon on the front page, reported that the administration “showed signs of dwindling patience after Congressional leaders were forced to withdraw an invitation for Indian President Pratibha Patil to address a joint session of Congress”.

“Without doubts, it makes us look bad as a country,” Foreign Relations Secretary Patricia Espionosa was quoted as saying in reports.

During a ceremony at Calderon’s residence Thursday evening Espionosa said: “We deeply, deeply regret that the president of India could not go to Congress, as is usual on a state visit.”

The newspaper also had a detailed story on Patil’s visit, highlighting the growing ties between the two countries. On an inside page, it had another picture of Patil and Calderon inspecting the guard of honour at Los Pinos, the latter’s residence.

Trade between India and Mexico totalled a mere $1.8 billion in 2006 but the target is to raise it to $5 billion by 2010.

Earlier, lawmakers from a coalition led by the Leftist Democratic Revolution Party seized the podiums of both houses and set up a round-the-clock protest of President Calderon’s proposal to ease limits on private involvement in oil exploration and production.

Mexican communists say the move would lead to selling off part of a state-run oil company and are demanding a national debate on the bill before it is considered by Congress.

After the lawmakers blocked the Senate Chamber in San Lazaro Legislative Palace, there was a proposal to hold a special session at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, a premier opera house in Mexico City. However, the protesting lawmakers rejected that idea too.

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