Mexico resigns from Americas defense treaty, calling it Cold War relic

The Associated Press
September 6, 2002

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexicosaid Friday it is withdrawing from a a treaty designed to protect the Americas against communism, a year after President Vicente Fox called the agreement obsolete

Mexico joined the Inter-American Reciprocal Defense Treaty when it was established in 1947.

The U.S. government said it was disappointed by Mexico’s withdrawal from the agreement, known as the Rio Treaty. The Organization of American States is coordinator of the treaty.

“President Fox has pointed out the necessity of creating a modern and multidimensional (security) structure that would meet the needs of the Americas,” the Foreign Relations Department said in a statement. “The pact, created after the Second World War, had been made obsolete by a global system in which vulnerability is no longer strictly a matter of ideological or military threats.”

Fox’s administration wants a security pact that would take into account other threats, including natural disasters, public health problems, poverty, terrorism and organized crime.

The treaty is similar to the treaty that organized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; both state that an attack on one treaty member is considered an attack on all.

But Fox has noted that the Rio treaty was never invoked during the 1982 Falkland Islandswar between Argentina and Great Britain, and no member came to Argentina’s aid.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Charles Barclay said the United Stateswas disappointed by Mexico’s decision, though he said “bilateral cooperation with Mexico in the areas of defense and security continues to be excellent.”

“We believe that the treaty remains a vital tool in ensuring hemispheric security,” he said, noting that several governments invoked the treaty’s “collective security provisions in response to the events of Sept. 11 last year.”

Barclay said the U.S. government would “work with Mexico and others to strengthen hemispheric security arrangements across the board.”

Of the 34 active members of the Organization of American States, 23 have ratified the Rio Treaty. Many Caribbean countries have not.

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On the Net:

Background on Rio Treaty: http://usinfo.state.gov/topical/pol/terror/01092019.htm

OAS: http://www.oas.org

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