Brazil and Argentina Tell Mexico’s Fox to Mind His Own Business

Argentine president Nestor Kirchner called on his Mexican counterpart Vicente Fox "to look after his country", and "I’ll do the same with the Argentines, as it should be".

"I was voted by the Argentines and I’m going to look after my people", stressed Mr. Kirchner adding that he will continue "to defend the interests of Argentina in international meetings".

Mr. Fox was extremely critical of President Kirchner during the recent Americas Summit in Mar del Plata accusing the Argentine leader of not acting as a proper and neutral host contributing to find common ground.

The Mar del Plata declaration finally had two positions, one from Mercosur and Venezuela deferring support for the US sponsored Free Trade Area of the Americas, and the rest of the 34 countries committed to the re-launching of the initiative.

According to the Mexican press, President Fox said that several leaders left the summit with the impression "that Mr. Kirchner’s thoughts were more oriented to please Argentine public opinion than turning the Mar del Plata meeting into a success".

"I won’t be going to a summit to hand over the interests of the Argentines just to please the guests, no matter how powerful they are", said Mr. Kirchner, Tuesday, November 8, in Buenos Aires, during an event in the outskirts of the city.

Argentina supports economic integration but "without asymmetries or subsidies", insisted the Argentine President before his audience.

"If this means staying alone, I’ll do so because I was elected to defend the interests of the Argentines, and this is paramount for me," he added.

The Argentine President blamed the riots and violent protests in Mar del Plata on "minority and mercenary groups" who preach violence and have "zero votes".

"They are a bunch of cowards; Argentines want to live in peace," blasted Kirchner.

Earlier in the day Foreign Affairs minister Rafael Bielsa said that Mr. Fox "has a strange idea of Latinamerican unit, which we do not share", adding that he was trying to contact his Mexican counterpart to request a transcript of President Fox public statements.

"We’ll then decide what course of action to take," said Mr. Bielsa. However Casa Rosada sources anticipated that President Fox’s words are expected to be analyzed and assessed but not a source of "diplomatic reaction."

Brazil also voiced strong criticism against Mexico’s strong stance in support of FTAA during the Americas summit.

Marco Aurélio Garcia, President Lula da Silva main foreign policy advisor denied the summit had been a failure because Mercosur balked from a timetable for the resumption of FTAA negotiations supported by 29 countries.

"We have long defended the idea that rich countries must reduce agricultural subsidies and barriers to trade. It’s not worth talking about timetables, which are something secondary. I believe other countries radicalized their positions," said Mr. Garcia.

The Mexican delegation arrived in Mar del Plata saying that "let’s go ahead with FTAA with or without Mercosur", recalled President Lula’s advisor, "which is very odd since on the one hand Mexico has requested to join Mercosur and then proposes an FTAA leaving out South America’s two leading economies (Brazil and Argentina)."

As to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez remarks that FTAA "was dead and would be buried in Mar del Plata," Mr. Garcia argued that "adjectives don’t count for much, what interests us is substance".

This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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