Mexico softens tone on possible OAS shake-up plans

·2 min read

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's government said on Friday it would only discuss a possible shake-up of the Organization of American States (OAS) at a weekend summit if the issue is put on the table, tempering expectations for a more aggressive review of the body.

Maximiliano Reyes, a deputy foreign minister for Latin America and the Caribbean, said Saturday's meeting in Mexico City between heads of state in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was not focused on the OAS.

"It is not on the written work agenda," Reyes told W Radio.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has proposed the OAS be replaced by a more "autonomous" organization, and his Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has been highly critical of the body for its position against some allies of the Mexican government.

Reyes said that if the subject of reforming the OAS were brought onto the agenda, Mexico would suggest the creation of a working group with other counties in Central America, South America and the Caribbean to "reflect" on the matter.

"This group would have to find a way to get everyone in agreement," Reyes said. "There's absolutely nothing else."

Accusing the OAS of "practically fomenting a coup" in the fallout from bitterly contested elections in Bolivia in 2019, Ebrard earlier this year described the organization's secretary general, Luis Almagro, as "one of the worst in history" https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexicos-foreign-minister-blasts-oas-almagro-over-bolivia-stance-2021-06-04.

Reyes' more conciliatory stance came a day after Lopez Obrador reiterated his desire for the United States to lift its economic blockade of Cuba as he hosted Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel at Mexico's annual independence day military parade.

(Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Writing by Jake Kincaid; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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