President López Obrador on Sunday defended his recently announced peace proposal for Ukraine after a senior Ukrainian official described it as a Russian plan.
Speaking at an Independence Day ceremony in Mexico City on Friday, López Obrador said that Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard would take a peace proposal to the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.
“It’s about urgently seeking an agreement to stop the war in Ukraine and to achieve a truce of at least five years in favor of peace between all nations in order to dedicate that time to confronting the large and serious economic and social problems that afflict and torment the peoples of the world,” he said.
On behalf of the Mexican government, Ebrard will propose a “committee for dialogue and peace” that would conduct “direct talks” with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin of Russia that are aimed at the “immediate cessation of hostilities” in Ukraine, the president said.
López Obrador proposed that the committee be made up of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Pope Francis and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, if they’re willing to participate as mediators.
“Additionally, this committee, according to our proposal, should also achieve a multinational agreement for a truce of at least five years, approved unanimously by the United Nations Security Council,” he said, adding that it would imply the “immediate suspension of military actions and provocations [against other nations] as well as the immediate suspension of nuclear and missile tests.”
“The agreement would establish the commitment of all states to avoid confrontations and not intervene in internal conflicts. In this way, we think an environment of peace and tranquility can be created that allows all the efforts of governments to be dedicated to attending to the pressing problems of poverty, health and violence suffered on all continents and combating the migratory phenomenon in a humanitarian and fraternal way,” López Obrador said.
“… Hopefully we’ll have success with this initiative , but whatever happens fighting for justice and peace will never be in vain,” he added.
“Peacemakers” who use war as a topic for their own PR are causing only surprise. @lopezobrador_, is your plan to keep millions under occupation, increase the number of mass burials and give Russia time to renew reserves before the next offensive? Then your “plan” is a 🇷🇺 plan.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) September 17, 2022
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to President Zelenskyy, took to Twitter on Saturday to criticize the plan.
“’Peacemakers’ who use war as a topic for their own PR are causing only surprise. @lopezobrador_, is your plan to keep millions under occupation, increase the number of mass burials and give Russia time to renew reserves before the next offensive? Then your ‘plan’ is a [Russian] plan,” he wrote, using a Russian flag in lieu of the adjective indicating that nationality.
Mexican Twitter user @LunadeCafe responded to Podolyak’s post, writing: “We are truly ashamed of López’s statements that do not represent the feelings of Mexicans. He should first solve the more than 133,000 murders in Mexico [since he took office] before opening his mouth. Our support to Ukrainian people.”
Another Twitter user described the president’s plan as “another circus to divert attention from the real problems in Mexico.”
Despite the criticism, López Obrador doubled down on his proposal on Sunday, posting a link to a video of his address on social media. He said he was posting the speech to social media for a second time because “a lot of people” haven’t heard it and others rejected it “due to sectarianism or elite interests.”
“However,” he added, “trying to save lives and avoid suffering in [Ukraine and Russia] is a duty. Stopping inflation and the economic and well-being crisis across the world is at stake.”