Cuba and Mexico reinstall their respective ambassadors

Campaign News | Monday, 19 July 2004

Joint press conference in Havana

BY RAISA PAGES-Granma International

HAVANA July 18 - Felipe Pérez Roque and Luis Ernesto Derbez, the Cuban and Mexican foreign ministers respectively, announced at a joint press conference in Havana July 18 after official talks that the ambassadors of both countries will return to their embassies on July 26.

Jorge Bolaños, on the Cuban side, and Roberta Lajous, on the Mexican, will return to their posts after a period in which the tone of bilateral relations declined, although open communication via diplomatic channels continued.

Both foreign ministers described the talks during their meeting as wide-ranging, frank and as a continuum of the meetings during the summit between the European Union and Latin America held in Guatemala.

Pérez Roque stated that his country advocates a mutually respectful relationship with Mexico. He recalled Cuba’s peculiar situation, subjected to a prolonged blockade of more than 40 years by the United States, which gives it the right to defend itself from campaigns aimed at breaking the Cuban people via hunger and disease.

The Cuban foreign minister noted that both ambassadors will duly work within the framework of the two countries’ legislation and seeking every opportunity to promote relations.

Media expectations around the meeting were reflected by the presence of 77 reporters from 50 media agencies in 13 countries, although the largest representation (26 journalists) was from Mexico.

Derbez informed the press that, to his pleasure, the negotiations had succeeded in defining the panorama of relations between the two governments and nations, in an atmosphere of total openness.

Responding to the press he stated that there could be differences on certain issues between friends, but those aspects could be clearly put forward and discussed. Once that situation was reached, the Mexican foreign minister noted, work can proceed on the mutual concerns of the two nations, such as economic relations, international forums and the integration of the Caribbean community. “And where there are divergences, we have decided to maintain mutual respect.”

The Cuban foreign minister affirmed his affection and respect for the people of Mexico, a nation that occupies a special place in the island’s history. He highlighted that those young revolutionaries who survived the Moncada assault went to Mexico precisely to organize the following phase of the struggle for Cuba’s liberation from a brutal and bloody dictatorship. He recalled that it was on Mexican soil that they met up and found shelter and that it was there that Fidel came to know Che.

The Mexican secretary of foreign relations arrived on the island in the morning of July 18. During his visit he placed a wreath at the monument to Benito Juárez, accompanied by his Cuban counterpart.

At the end of the joint press conference, journalists saw Pérez Roque drive off in a white Lada, accompanied by the Mexican foreign minister.

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