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Mexico Wants to Be Where Decisions Are Mad

Mexico Wants to Be Where Decisions Are Made

President Vicente Fox Quesada of Mexico paying an official visit to France granted an exclusive interview to Christian Malar. He said he wanted Mexico "to be very close to Europe, especially to France". President Fox intends to "participate in all forums, all institutions, everywhere, where decisions are being taken that have to deal with humanity, that will have to go with globalization, that have to go with the future." Source: France 3 TV Corporation, Paris, Résidence Marigny, Paris, November 15, 2002. (Photos European Security)

Christian Malar: Welcome to France Mr. President; It's an honor for us to have you. Thank you very much for granting this interview to French TV. Does your visit to France, Mr. President, mean that your great country, Mexico, seeks to diversify both its political and economical relations getting closer to Europe, and may be not so dependent on your great neighbor, the United States ?

Vicente Fox Quesada: That is one objective, yes, especially on trading and developing our economy. We depend too much on United States: 85% of our trading is done with United States. Now, we have a big economy: the ninth largest in the World. And we are the seventh largest trading balance. So we need to diversify and that is why we have this trade agreement with Europe. We want to promote it because it can represent a great potential. On the other hand., also, on political, diplomatic and Foreign Affairs issues, we want to be very close to Europe, especially to France, because we have found a lot of coincidences in our set of values and in our positions in World forums. It is especially the case in the Security Council of the United Nations, the case of Iraq, where France and Mexico held close to the same position. We were able to attain an unanimous decision of the Security Council: fifteen to zero in favor of the resolution that we have agreed upon.

Christian Malar: We will come back further to this UN resolution again, Mr. President, but first you said that you consider the French to be good partners for the future. How do you explain the fact that the French do better than the Spanish who really have showed to be more dynamic in the past in doing business and commercial with Mexico ?

Vicente Fox Quesada: The truth is that, in these last three years, Spain has invested heavily in Mexico and heavily in Latin America. Spain has concentrated in this strategy in America, and I think they are going to do well. As a matter of fact, they have been number One investor for the region in the last three years. Over and above what the United States have invested.

France is also very interested in Mexico. We welcome a lot of investors from France in the fields of infrastructure, highways, ports, in the fields of energy, it's very important, on power generation. The French invested in the field of services as well like providing water and getting rid of waste. So France is really investing in Mexico also.

Christian Malar: Let us come back Mr. President to what you previously said about the last UN resolution, the way it happened. It took quite a long time, there was a lot of discussions between the U.S., the Security Council and other Member states, like Mexico who played a very crucial role. Didn't you take the risk, backing the French like you did it, of having George Bush telling you "What are you doing here backing the French position with which I do not agree with" ?

Vicente Fox Quesada: I don't think so. President Bush is a very tough World leader, with great capabilities. He is fighting for his beliefs in trying to eradicate terrorism from all over the World. In this case, there were positions that he started quite different, but after negotiating, after intense dialogue, that we all have, particularly France and Mexico.

We were able to put everybody on the same resolution. I think that was a great exercise both of capacity to negotiate, of tolerance and will to achieve an agreement. And this is what I would suggest: that Europe, the United States, in this case, Mexico, we have to work more together. We should not be with different positions because the leading role of Europe and United States is key to the benefit and the better of the smaller countries.

There is too much poverty in the World. There are too many families that do not have the necessary. So leading economies do have an ethical responsibility to work together. To invite both the United States and Europe to have the capacity to work together and build a better future for everybody.

Christian Malar: You know President Bush very well. You held many summit meetings with him. I would like to have your impression and see if you share my feeling on this. When I interviewed him last June, I got the feeling that, whatever may happen in Baghdad, he wanted to attack Iraq. Even after this resolution has been adopted by the Security Council, I still have this impression that he remains determined to attack Iraq, to use force. But can we say that Iraq is linked to terrorism ? We do not seem to have the evidence that Iraq was linked to Al Qaida and Osama Bin Laden. Whatever may happen, I still have the feeling that US President is determined to launch a military attack against Iraq. Is this also your feeling ?

Vicente Fox Quesada: I think that yourself, you pointed the difference.

I am absolutely convinced that President Bush is determined to eradicate terrorism from the face of the earth. It causes too many evils and problems to the World. And I think that we also should be together in that fight. We should all participate.

Now, on the other side, we have the case of Iraq. The specific case of Iraq. I think that the resolution that came from the Security Council is exactly looking after the realities and what is the truth.

So inspectors will go to Iraq with all the power that the UN can give them, with all the capacities and with all the commitments to dig in as much as possible, to be very profound and very professional in their responsibilities. So that they will come back and inform the Security Council of the United Nations.

Then, we will be in a position to judge. So at that that time, we will have the responsibility, all of the fifteen countries that belong to the Security Council take a decision. And this decision will be a response of that information that will come back from Iraq.

Christian Malar: I also have the impression that President Bush is very interested in the Iraqi oil market. Oil is somewhat at stake. Do you also share this impression Mr. President ?

Vicente Fox Quesada: To my knowledge, and I do have a close relation with him: we talk very frequently on the telephone. So we did on the case of Iraq. I think he is worried that Iraq is failing its commitments with the United Nations. But he is also smart enough. He is a leader that wants to listen to others and make sure that he is right on his assumptions. So he is giving the opportunity as well as we, all rest of countries are doing to first: have the report of the inspectors, and then to decide upon.

I think that , at least in the case of Mexico, we just won't go to support a unilateral decision and won't support any decision unless we have sufficient information to act upon. So we are not going to take decisions in advance. We will wait and see what happens.

I am having a meeting with President Chirac and I am sure that we will continue the methodology that we have used up to now. That is: take up the phone, call him or he calls me. We'll discuss, exchange our points of view in order to reach in the end a process of decision-making.

I do the same with Prime Minister Blair, and do the same with President Bush. And that's the way where we look for consensus and for smart, intelligent, decisions. Because World is at stake. We can't play around with the World !

Christian Malar: Mr. President, could we - or should we - have a military attack against Iraq, should we have may be the beginning of an economic crisis, and an oil crisis. What would be the attitude of Mexico, which is a great oil producer, in case of such a crisis if we have a potential conflict with Iraq.

Vicente Fox Quesada: In a way, oil crisis are thermometers of the temperature of the case of Iraq and Saddam Hussein. In the last eight to ten days, prices of oil have been coming down very rapidly. It seems that we are on the right side, that the decisions made through the UN and the Security Council are right. So, what we expect is that we can continue with the same process of deciding to make sure that the World will be benefiting, that the UN will come up very strong from this at the multilateral mechanisms prove to be correct and that everybody wins. That is what I expect that will happen.

Christian Malar: As I said, Mr. President, Mexico, your country is now power number 9 in the World. We need Mexico, it's clear also to be involved on the diplomatic scene aside with the US and Europe. What are your plans to become more involved in trying to find solutions to the wars and conflicts we are facing in this World… Bosnia in the past, Kosovo, some other are probably coming up. What is the position of Mexico for the future ?

Vicente Fox Quesada: That's the decision we took on the very first day of our government. That we are grown enough, that we have the moral authority, that we have a strong sense of responsibility and so, we decided to participate in all forums, in all institutions, everywhere, where decisions are being taken that have to deal with humanity, that will have to go with globalization, that have to go with the future. It is not an easy decision. It was criticized by some in Mexico. Some preferred to hide away, to stay out of trouble and let other decide. That's not our spirit.

We want to be where decisions are made and we want to be responsible. We know you cannot agree with everybody. But we know that being responsible is one of the best attribute that a country can have. And through being responsible we can serve other, we can benefit mankind.

We will always be right there where decisions are made…

Christian Malar: Thank you very much, Mr. President. Muchas gracias por esta entrevista y mucha suerte para usted y su grand país.

Vicente Fox Quesada: Christian, muchísimas gracias, thank you.


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).