AMLO Tepidly Condemns Ukraine War, Says He Has Plan to Prevent Fuel Hikes
By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
After stating that Mexico is against any use of military force to resolve geopolitical disputes, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) on Thursday, Feb. 24, said that he “has a plan” to avoid fuel price hikes in Mexico stemming from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“In terms of foreign policy, Mexico is going to continue promoting dialogue, not force,” the president said during his daily press conference at the National Palace, just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin began military operations in Ukraine’s Donbas region, as well as the launching of bombs in Kiev and Kharkov.
“Mexico is opposed to any war,” AMLO said. “Mexico has always spoken out in favor of peace and for the peaceful resolution of conflicts.”
He added that Mexico, which currently holds a nonpermanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, had expressed its support for a diplomatic solution during an emergency meeting of that body late Wednesday, Feb. 23, in New York City.
Asked how the war, which Thursday sent international oil prices to $105 per barrel, would effect fuel prices in Mexico, AMLO said that his government already has a plan in place to keep national gasoline and natural gas prices in check.
“In the event that the cost of imported gas rises, energy production will be entrusted to power generation plants that do not require these resources, such as hydroelectric plants, to avoid consumers having to pay more and prevent unexpected power outages,” he said.
“We have been prepared for some time, so that, if the price of imported gas increases a lot, we can start up all the electricity generation plants that do not require gas to avoid an increase in electricity costs.”.
López Obrador went on to say that the state-run Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) will revert to full-capacity use of its hydroelectric plants and other emergency measures so as to prevent any blackouts of fuel price hikes.
In the event that the costs of imported gasoline increase due to higher crude oil prices, AMLO said that the government will use federal subsidies granted to fuels known as the Special Tax on Production and Services (IEPS).
These subsidies, he said, will help ensure that the increase “is not passed on to consumers, and that the current price of gasoline is maintained.”
Meanwhile, Olga Beatriz García Guillén, Mexico’s ambassador to Ukraine, reported early Thursday morning that she and her staff had heard the first explosions of Russia’s attack on Kiev, but were “fine,” as were all the Mexicans registered by the embassy in that country.
The embassy has a total of 225 Mexicans and their family members registered as living in Ukraine, she said, of whom about half are still in Kiev.
Those Mexicans who wish to be evacuated from Ukraine will be taken to nearby Romania, García Guillén said.
For his part, Mexican Foreign Relations (SRE) Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday that, despite Moscow’s aggression against Kiev, Mexico will maintain diplomatic relations with Russia.
“This is one of the things we have to do, to maintain a dialogue with the various parties,” Ebrard said.
“It is very difficult for Mexico to support a military response, since our position is essentially to find a political solution.”