Mexico Retaliates: Canadian Officials Now Need Visas

Mexico retaliates: Canadian officials now need visas News Staff
Updated: Thu Jul. 16 2009 17:12:34

Canadian officials and diplomats will now be required to get visas before entering Mexico, Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa said on Thursday.

“I spoke strongly against the decision to require Mexicans to have visas to travel to the country,” she said after a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

Her decision was in retaliation to Canada's decision announced on Monday that Mexicans will be subject to new visa requirements.

But the Mexican visa decision will not extend to Canadian tourists. About 1.3 million Canadians visit Mexico each year, and their business is vital to the Mexican economy.

“We do not intend to harm this flow of people between the two countries,” Espinosa said at a news conference with Cannon and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the U.S. State Department.

Canada will now require visas from travellers from Mexico and the Czech Republic because, according to the government, the number of false refugee claims from those two countries is inordinately high.

The two countries are the two top applicants for refugee status to Canada. Nearly 10,000 Mexicans applied for refugee status last year.

Cannon said on Thursday that the new, controversial visa requirements will likely be lifted at some point, but are a necessary precaution for now.

She and Cannon both said they were hopeful that a resolution to the diplomatic spat could be reached quickly.

The three foreign ministers were meeting Thursday to plan a three-day summit in Mexico next month.

With files from Associated Press