President Luis Echeverria of Mexicoe arrived in the Italian capital, Rome, on Friday (8 February) for a two-day official visit which will include a controversial audience with Pope Paul, as well as talks with Italian leaders.
GV Guards on balcony of airport building
LV President of Mexico down aircraft steps and greeted by Pres. Lenne, walks towards guard of honour
SV Echeverria walke towards applauding crowd
LV Security guard on airoraft building
SCU Mexican President shaking hands with people and walking away
GV PAN Motorcycle escort leads President's car away
Initials BB/1740 RS/PN/BB/1906
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Background: President Luis Echeverria of Mexicoe arrived in the Italian capital, Rome, on Friday (8 February) for a two-day official visit which will include a controversial audience with Pope Paul, as well as talks with Italian leaders.
President Luis Echeverria will be the first Mexican President to call on a Pope. This has caused speculation that Mexico may re-establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican, formally broken in 1857 and completely severed in 1929.
Only 40 years ago in Mexico, red shirted hooligans raided churches and mechine-guarded peasants seen praying together and priests had to travel in disguise.
There are still come restrictions on the activities of the Roman Catholic Church in the Mexican Constitution.
President Echeverria decided to call on Pope Paul to thank him for supporting a Mexican proposal for a United Nations charter on Economic Rights and Duties.
The Charter, first proposed by President Echeverria at the U.N. conference on Trade and Development held in Chile in 1972, is designed to protect small countries form economic domination by large countries.
The Mexican President is on four nation tour in Europe hoping to gain support for the charter. He has already visited Austria and West Germany and will travel on to Yugoslavia.
He flew to Rome form the southern Italian city of Taranto, where earlier in the day he visited a steelworks.