Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said in a speech Wednesday at the UN General Assembly meeting that his country will make the “historic step” of resuming its participation in UN peacekeeping missions.
Mexico will participate gradually and on a conditional basis, “performing humanitarian-related tasks that benefit the civilian population” and only where there is a “clear mandate” from the Security Council and when the mission is in keeping with Mexico’s foreign policy principles and domestic legal framework.
Mexico has not participated in peacekeeping operations since 1993, when it provided 120 police officers for a mission in El Salvador. Prior to that, it took part as a military observer in the Balkans from 1947 to 1950 and in Kashmir (on the Indian-Pakistani border) in 1949.
Peña Nieto also called for changes to the United Nations and “more equitable geographical representation” within the UN Security Council. He also said he supported limiting veto rights in cases of “severe violations of international humanitarian law.”
The permanent members of the Security Council – Britain, China, France, the United States and Russia – all have veto rights over that body’s actions.
“We believe that the number of non-permanent members of the Council should be expanded, creating long-term seats with the possibility of immediate re-election,” he added.
“That would require breaking inertias and changing paradigms,” he said, calling on all governments to have the willingness to listen, engage in dialogue and compromise with the aim of achieving “a new UN for a new century.”
Mexico serves as proof that profound changes can occur, Peña Nieto said, adding that the country silenced those voices that said no agreement could be reached to transform the Latin American nation.
He was referring to his administration’s “Pact for Mexico,” an accord signed by the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and Mexico’s main opposition parties.
Major overhauls of the country’s energy, education and telecommunications sectors and tax laws have occurred since the agreement was signed.
The leftist PRD party pulled out of the pact, however, because it said the energy overhaul – which ended state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos’ decades-old monopoly and is seen by its proponents as essential for boosting sagging oil output – was too far-reaching and handed over the country’s hydrocarbon resources to foreign oil majors.
“The transformations that have taken place in Mexico are due to the willingness of an entire nation that dared to change. It acted boldly and decisively. It dared to transform itself and set itself in motion.”
“The UN can change too,” he added.