The United States has defended its recent decision to pressure a U.S.-owned hotel in Mexico to expel a Cuban delegation that had been meeting with U.S. energy executives.

Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary Tony Fratto told reporters in Washington Monday that U.S. firms must not engage in activities with the government of Cuba. He said that wherever American firms operate, they have to do so within the scope of U.S. law.

Fratto's remarks come days after Mexican officials launched a probe into the actions of the Hotel Maria Isabel Sheraton in Mexico City, which forced the Cubans to leave following pressure from U.S. Treasury officials.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez has said there is no need for diplomatic intervention in the case, but that his government will seek sanctions against the company. Officials say the hotel faces fines of nearly $500,000.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.