Sunday, February 13, 2005

Mexico Strengthens Ties with Arab World

Little Green Footballs reports:

Mexican President Vicente Fox is strengthening Mexico’s ties with the Arab world. (Hat tip: Brenda Walker.)

This is his way of asking George W. Bush to throw the southern border wide open.

ALGIERS, Algeria — President Vicente Fox arrived in Algeria on Saturday with plans to sign a series of accords during the first visit by a Mexican leader to this North African nation in three decades.

Four accords were being signed during his visit, Fox told Algerian government-controlled daily El Moudjahid, ranging from exchanges in education, art and culture to a decision to do away with visas in diplomatic and official passports.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika greeted Fox at the airport. Fox, on a swing through Europe and North Africa, arrived from Morocco. “Algeria is an important pole of development in North Africa with whom Mexico can establish mutually beneficial relations,” Fox was quoted as saying by El Moudjahid.

Bouteflika also asked Fox for support in his nation’s goal to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). It was the first visit of a Mexican president to Algeria since Luis Echeverria in 1975. However, Bouteflika and Fox have met on three occasions at international forums, the last in September 2003 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York.

The official visit is part of a larger foreign relations strategy by the Mexican government to improve commercial and diplomatic ties with Arabic nations, which Fox said “had been forgotten” by past governments.

Crowning the effort was Fox’s promise to establish a diplomatic office in the Palestinian capital of Ramallah in a meeting with 15 Arab ambassadors in Marrakech on Friday.

“I would like to transmit to your respective nations a message of affection, respect and hope from Mexico,” Fox told the envoys.

Come on Mr. President - just close the damn borders and enforce the immgration laws!

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