A day after his speech at the UN, Petro stated that, together with Mexico, he was working on a joint declaration to end the conflict in Ukraine.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro said on Wednesday that “with Mexico we want to make a joint declaration that, hopefully, will be from Latin America” to stop the war in Ukraine through peace negotiations. It happened during the forum Latin America, the United States and Spain in the global economy, a event organized by the Spanish newspaper El País and the Spain-United States Chamber of Commerce held in New York.
When Jan Martínez Ahrens, director of El País América, asked Petro what was his opinion that, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin made threats to use nuclear weapons, mobilized more soldiers and that there was “an escalation evident on the Russian side”, Petro replied “there is an escalation of the conflict” and did not explicitly reproach the conduct of the Russian president.
“We are not with any international aggression,” said the president and reiterated his criticism of US foreign policy: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is as bad as that of Iraq and Syria.”
In this way, Petro would be supporting the proposal of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico, to agree within the framework of the UN a total truce at the global level of at least five years, “in favor of peace between all nations” to address problems of health, migration, poverty and violence around the world.
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Is AMLO’s proposal viable?
López Obrador announced the idea of a total truce on September 5 at one of his morning press conferences. He hopes to have the support of Pope Francis; the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres.
Despite the fact that it would be an ambitious agenda that would reconfigure the dynamics of current international relations, AMLO has shown disinterest in foreign policy. Not only has he not attended any UN general assembly, but he rarely makes state visits or participates in international summits. In addition, he has repeatedly said that “the best foreign policy is a good foreign policy.”
Although Petro has not yet made formal announcements regarding the eventual participation of the two countries in a possible truce proposal in Ukraine, in Mexico the proposal left no one indifferent.
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When AMLO made the proposal, Ukraine was carrying out a counteroffensive operation in which it recovered cities that Russia had invaded.
In this regard, Myjailo Podolyak, adviser to Volodimir Zelensky, president of Ukraine, tweeted: “The ‘peacemakers’ who use the war as a theme for their own public relations only cause surprise.” Podolyak labeled the president of Mexico in the trill and accused him of being aligned with Russia.
For the Mexican internationalist and associate of the Mexican Council of International Affairs Érika Ruiz Sandoval, “the proposal has no viability” and is, rather, a smoke screen to distract attention from the increase in insecurity in Mexico, which led the president to change his mind in the face of the promise he made in the campaign not to militarize public security.
What is Petro’s position against Russia?
In the interview with El País, Petro recalled the invasions of the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Panama, the Falkland Islands and even said that “Colombia has lost part of its territory with external aggression.” “Latin America does not tour exactly the same as Europe. Europe sees it differently,” he added.
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AMLO’s attitude towards Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is similar. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau organized a global event to raise funds for the victims in Ukraine and invited López Obrador. The president did not attend and sent a video message in which he equated the invasion of Russia with the different invasions that Mexico suffered more than 100 years ago from the United States, France and Spain, countries with which it now has dependency relations.
Although Mexico has had a seat on the UN Security Council since 2021 and has been present in the debates on the conflict in Ukraine, it was slow to condemn the invasion.
For his part, Gustavo Petro said in a presidential campaign debate that he felt “fajardista” against Zelensky and Putin and that he did not choose “neither one nor the other.” “Neither NATO, nor Russia, Latin America needs its own scenario to build its own peace and its own progress,” added the then candidate.
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