Mexico Sides With 'Old Europe' on Iraq
By Michael Forbes
Wednesday 05 February 2003
Mexican President Vicente Fox surprised many this week when he said Mexico coincided with Germany in its opposition to unilateral military action in Iraq by the United States.
In a brief press conference in Berlin after meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder Wednesday, Fox said Mexico would go forward with Germany because the two countries had similar viewpoints.
"It's clear we don't want war," said Fox, adding that a multilateral solution to the Iraq problem is the most desirable approach.
Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Luis Derbez said that Fox spoke with French President Jacques Chirac the evening of Tuesday, January 28.
"We found that President Chirac has a position that approximates with ours," Derbez told the Mexican press.
Both Germany and France were singled out by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld last week as representing "Old Europe" and being out of touch with modern reality.
A permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, France has said it will not support a U.S.-led war with Iraq unless the United Nations approves such action.
Mexico, currently a United Nations' Security Council member, has not indicated how it might vote on a motion to approve a U.S.-led attack on Iraq.
Mexican Ambassador to the United Nations Adolfo Aguilar Zinser said Mexico desired a peaceful solution to the conflict and wants UN weapons inspectors to finish their work before discussing war. Zinser said he met this week with the Iraqi delegate to the UN and urged greater cooperation with weapons inspectors.
Zinser invited the United States to present evidence that, he said, "in the opinion of Mexico, would be relevant to the work of the inspectors."
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is scheduled to present classified intelligence the United States has on Iraqi weapons stashes on February 5.
The United States and Britain, also permanent members of the Security Council, have threatened repeatedly to wage war with Iraq with or without the support of the United Nations.
All five permanent members have the power to veto any UN Security Council resolution.
Mexico and nine other nations -- Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Germany, Pakistan, Syria and Spain -- are currently on the rotating Security Council. Only Spain has given its outright support to the United States.
Other nations have either decided against military action for the time being or have not made a statement.
However, if the Security Council were to have voted on taking military action against Iraq last week, more than likely the resolution would not have passed.
Though not all have made statements regarding military action, nine of the 15 nations have stated that weapons inspections should continue.
In a closely related issue last week, Spain and Britain led an eight-country European delegation that published an article thanking the United States for its "bravery and generosity" in ensuring peace in Europe. It was interpreted as an indirect reference to France, Germany and Russia's lack of support for the United States' stance on Iraq.
The article was published Thursday, January 30 in international editions of the Wall Street Journal, the Times of London and various European newspapers. It was signed by the head of state of Britain, Spain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Portugal.