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Mexico president wants ‘pause’ in relations with Spain

protesters break down door of Mexico president
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Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called Wednesday for a “pause” in relations with former colonial ruler Spain, amid frictions with Spanish companies that he accuses of corruption.

“The pause is: we’re going to give ourselves time to respect each other and not be seen as a land of conquest,” Lopez Obrador said at his daily news conference.

“We do want to have good relations with all governments… but we don’t want them to rob us,” he said.

Although the relationship with Spain “is not good now,” Mexico has no plan to break off diplomatic ties or recall its ambassador, Lopez Obrador said.

He again hit out at Spanish firms such as Repsol and Iberdrola, who have investments in Mexico’s energy industry.

Lopez Obrador accuses the companies of paying bribes in the past in exchange for contracts, with the complicity of Mexican and Spanish governments.

“It was a conspiracy at the top,” he said. “They looted us.”

The remarks come at a time when foreign investors are concerned about Lopez Obrador’s planned energy reforms.

Critics say the moves unfairly favor state-run firms heavily dependent on fossil fuels over private electricity producers such as Iberdrola who have invested in renewable energy.

Relations between Mexico and Spain have been strained since Lopez Obrador took office in 2018.

Madrid has rejected his demand for an apology for the events of the conquest.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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