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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 12:00 GMT
Hotel closure after Mexico-US row
Pro Cuban protest in front of the Sheraton Hotel in Mexico City
There have been anti-US protests outside the hotel
Local authorities in a district of Mexico City have announced the imminent closure of a US-owned hotel at the centre of a diplomatic row.

It said the branch of the Sheraton chain had committed irregularities such as unauthorised building work and failure to provide a menu in Braille.

The announcement comes as Mexico investigates the hotel for expelling 16 Cuban officials last week.

The delegation was ordered out to comply with a US embargo against Cuba.

A US law bans American companies from doing business with the island.

However, the authorities in the city's central Cuauhtemoc district did not say if the closure of the Hotel Maria Isabel Sheraton was linked to the diplomatic row.

There have been anti-US protests outside the building since the incident occurred.

'Third country'

The Cuban delegation was due to meet a group of US businessmen opposed to the embargo at the hotel on Saturday.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., which owns the Sheraton chain, said the company was asked by the US Treasury Department to tell the Cubans to leave.

The Mexican government said the firm may have broken the law by expelling the delegation.

Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez insisted that the US law could not be applied in a third country.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the Sheraton in Mexico City was a subsidiary of a US-owned hotel group and therefore subject to US laws and regulations.

The Cuban government said the incident showed that Washington policy had been affecting other countries.

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