Friday, June 14, 2024

Ukraine’s President Zelensky addresses Mexico lawmakers

During an address to a group of Mexican lawmakers on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Mexico to support his peace plan to end the war with Russia. 

“Ladies and Gentlemen! People of Mexico! Aren’t we united by the dream of safety and peace on all the streets of all the cities of our countries? Don’t we equally condemn those who shoot civilians and burn houses?” Zelensky said in a virtual address to members of the Chamber of Deputies’ Mexico-Ukraine Friendship Group. 

Zelensky address congress via video-link
President Zelensky called on Mexico to take leadership and work to help Ukraine regain its territory. (@IEAmbMexico/Twitter)

“… More than five months ago, I presented the Ukrainian Peace Formula. It happened at the G20 Summit in Indonesia,” he said, according to an official English-language transcript of his speech.  

Zelensky said that the formula – a 10-point plan calling for the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the withdrawal of Russian troops, among other points — is “addressed primarily to the world, … to everyone who can participate in the implementation of specific points of the Formula and become a cocreator of the victory over evil, a cocreator of peace.”

He told the Mexico-Ukraine friendship group that “peace must become irreplaceable” and “evil must lose” and invited its members to “choose which clause of the Peace Formula allows Mexico to show leadership.” 

“Ukraine has already proposed to the Latin American community to convene a special summit and speak unitedly in defense of the globally important principles of territorial integrity, peace and respect between peoples, and the sovereignty of nations. I believe [that] with the help of Mexico, it can happen much faster,” Zelensky said. 

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard speaks at the U.N. General Assembly.
Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, seen here at the United Nations in 2022, condemned the Russian invasion when it first occurred. (SRE/Facebook)

The Ukrainian president thanked Mexico for voting to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine at the United Nations (although it abstained in a vote that suspended Russia from the UN Human Rights Council) and expressed appreciation for its humanitarian support for Ukraine. 

Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard expressed Mexico’s condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the day it occurred — Feb. 24, 2022. However, the federal government rejected a request from Ukrainian lawmakers to send arms to the eastern European nation and decided not to impose any sanctions on Russia.  

“We don’t send weapons anywhere, we’re pacifists,” said President López Obrador at the time of the decision, on March 4, 2022. 

The president, who has been critical of European nations’ supply of weapons to Ukraine, put forward his own peace proposal to end the Russo-Ukrainian last September, and Ebrard presented it to the United Nations General Assembly later the same month.  

López Obrador proposed a “committee for dialogue and peace in Ukraine” and said that the prime minister of India, Pope Francis and UN Secretary-General António Guterres should join the group and conduct “direct talks” with Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukraine promptly rejected his idea; an official close to Zelensky described it as a “Russian plan.” 

Jucopo head Ignacio Mier
Cross-party coordination board chairman Ignacio Mier said that any support for Ukraine was a personal decision, and not representative of the wider will of Congress. (Mario Jasso/Cuartoscuro)

While López Obrador has personally condemned Russia’s invasion, he has also said that Mexico’s “position is one of neutrality, which has to do with … [our noninterventionist] foreign policy.” 

Some members of his Morena party have sided with Russia. A youth wing of the party in México state voiced “moral and political support” for the invasion, while lawmakers from the ruling Morena party, as well as its ally the Labor Party and the Institutional Revolutionary Party, formed a Mexico-Russia friendship group just over a year ago.   

Asked last April whether he endorsed the friendship group, López Obrador didn’t give a direct response, emphasizing instead that people are “free” to do as they see fit. 

There was an allusion on Thursday to this diversity of opinion within Morena — and other parties — with regard to the war in Ukraine. 

In response to Zelensky’s address, National Action Party Deputy and president of the lower house of Congress Santiago Creel said, “in the name of the Mexican state, we express our strongest condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

However, the cross-party Political Coordination Board (Jucopo) of the Chamber of Deputies, over which Morena Deputy Ignacio Mier presides, said in a statement that the opinions expressed at Thursday’s event didn’t represent the Congress, let alone the Mexican state. 

The expressions of Mexican lawmakers are “personal,” Jucopo said after noting that Zelensky’s address wasn’t to the Mexican Congress but rather a friendship group of legislators.     

“The meeting of the Mexico-Ukraine Friendship Group doesn’t represent the consensual position of the Chamber of Deputies,” the statement said. 

The Russian Embassy in Mexico thanked Jucopo for expressing its “clear position” on what it described as “interesting discourse” between Zelensky and the Mexican lawmakers. 

“Once again, we respect the balanced and sensible position of Mexico,” the embassy said on Twitter

The Ukrainian Embassy described Zelensky’s address as “historic” and thanked Creel for inviting its president to the event.  

Mexico News Daily 

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