Monday June 27, 1:26 pm ET

Mexico's Pemex Is Nearly Ready to Open a Gas Station in Belize This Summer MEXICO CITY (AP) -- State-run oil concern Petroleos Mexicanos could open a gas station in neighboring Belize later this summer, a top federal official said Monday.
President Vicente Fox on Tuesday makes the first visit to the former British colony by a Mexican head of state since 1991.

Briefing reporters about that trip, Miguel Hakim, the Foreign Department's deputy secretary for Latin America, said a Belizean Pemex franchise, controlled by private business interests from Mexico and Belize, could be running in the next two months.

Fox said in November that his government would work toward expanding the Pemex franchise to Central America and Hakim said the first stop would likely be Belize, which borders southeastern Mexico.

With a population of only about 280,000, Hakim said "only one franchise" would be necessary to start.

Mexico's constitution bans foreign oil companies from production, exploration and refinery activities in this country. Pemex is the only gas station brand that operates here and its stations must have Mexican owners.

During his one-day visit to Belize, Fox will look to establish a formal border agreement, to create a joint security group and to discuss the possibility of enlarging the only crossing between both countries.

Hakim said the existing border agreement was signed with Great Britain rather than with Belize itself.

He said Mexican authorities would like the agreements to better define each country's territory on land and in the Caribbean Sea