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Mexican president says will not let U.S. group keep watch over energy reform – Reuters Canada

MEXICO CITY, April 1 (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday he rejected a proposal from U.S. climate envoy John Kerry for a U.S. group to monitor efforts around a contentious energy bill and chided what he described as a bid to “keep watch” over Mexico.

Lopez Obrador met the day before with Kerry, U.S. Ambassador Ken Salazar and U.S. energy sector executives amid a dispute over the country’s efforts to change its energy laws.

Lopez Obrador has championed the bill, which would give more market power to state-run energy companies, and said it would remain unchanged. read more

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“There was a suggestion to maintain communication on the subject and for a group to participate… We did not accept,” Lopez Obrador told a regular news conference.

“There is a big difference between listening, talking … to imposing a group to keep watch over us,” he added.

On Thursday, Kerry said he presented proposals for reaching consensus on the reform, and that a team in Mexico led by Salazar would work with the White House and his office to help with the effort. read more

Lopez Obrador, when asked about suggestions to modify the bill, said there would be no changes.

“It stays as it is, because it includes what concerns them, about the energy transition,” he said.

Lopez Obrador also told Friday’s news conference that the government will respect fuel import permits for five foreign companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N), Koch Industries, Shell Plc (SHEL.L) and Tesoro, which was acquired by Marathon Petroleum Corp (MPC.N).

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Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Writing by Valentine Hilaire, Cassandra Garrison and Daina Beth Solomon
Editing by Marguerita Choy

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