Mexico minister plans visits to Russia, China, India, U.S. over vaccines

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FILE PHOTO: Mexico's foreign minister, Ebrard, speaks in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's foreign minister said on Tuesday he planned visits soon to Russia, China, India and the United States as part of his government's efforts to make sure that its supply agreements for vaccines against COVID-19 are honored.

Speaking at a regular government news conference alongside President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the dates for his visits were still to be confirmed, but that he planned to embark on them "very soon."

"The aim is to ensure that Mexico has the vaccines agreed in the times set out during the next few weeks," Ebrard said.

Mexico moved quickly to sign agreements with global vaccine makers to secure sufficient supply, but hold-ups have delayed its initial timetable for inoculating the population.

The government complained at the United Nations that rich countries were hoarding vaccines at the expense of poorer ones, and supply has picked up in the last few weeks.

Lopez Obrador has repeatedly thanked China, Russia and India for their help in delivering vaccines, as well as the United States, which late last month sent vaccines to Mexico.

Ebrard also noted health regulator COFEPRIS would likely soon approve the first COVID-19 vaccine of Indian origin for use in Mexico. Mexico has been studying the potential application of the Covaxin vaccine made by Indian company Bharat Biotech.

(Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)