Mexican President Says He Is Against War in Iraq
MEXICO CITY - AP - 20 March: After weeks of working for a compromise solution in the U.N. Security Council, Mexican President Vicente Fox said Thursday he is against the war in Iraq and deeply regretted any loss of life.
In a speech at the presidential residence to Mexicans who live in the United States, Fox said Mexico has to actively work with Iraq and other countries to ease the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.
Mexico, a member of the U.N. Security Council, has struggled with its position on Iraq. Fox has called for the disarmament of Saddam Hussein, but stopped short of supporting war.
He spent weeks trying to broker a deal that would avoid military action, and refused to reveal his country's position.
The president repeatedly said Mexico would oppose any action against Iraq that lacked U.N. backing, but he also said his stance had not weakened Mexico's relations with its northern neighbor.
Fox was careful to avoid offending Mexican voters who overwhelmingly oppose a war — and antagonizing the United States, which accounts for about 75 percent of Mexico's trade and is home to millions of Mexican migrants.
His comments Thursday were applauded by Mexicans who had traveled from the United States to meet with officials on migrant rights.
"Mexicans who live in the United States feel proud of your firm and brave position in the United Nations regarding war," said Lydia Hernandez, an adviser to the Institute of Mexicans Living Abroad. "We know that it is a difficult decision, but we want to say that we are with you."
Jose Luis Gutierrez, another institute adviser, said Fox's position reflected Mexico's "ethical principles and international political history."
"Today, in these uncertain times, Mexicans should remain united under the same sky and beyond borders to confront challenges and problems that we encounter," he said.