- The Washington Times - Friday, December 12, 2008

MEXICAN SOLUTIONS

Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan says his country advocates a four-pronged stimulus assault on the global financial crisis that includes government spending on public construction projects and measures to contain the spread of the economic meltdown.

Mexico developed its strategy after its leaders returned from the November financial summit in Washington, attended by officials from 20 industrialized nations, Mr. Sarukhan said in his latest Mexican Embassy newsletter distributed Thursday.

“At the end of the day, perhaps the most significant aspect of the recent … summit was the meeting itself and the potential of a more inclusive international architecture,” he said.

The countries represented in Washington accounted for 90 percent of the world economy, 80 percent of international trade and 66 percent of the world’s population, the ambassador said.

“These numbers make clear the need to construct a more comprehensive international financial [system], and, in this endeavor, Mexico, as one of the world’s important emerging markets, will not shun its responsibility to be an active player,” he added.

Mr. Sarukhan explained that Mexico believes the crisis must be contained to avoid infecting developing nations.

“At the international level, the World Bank, together with regional banks, must strive to provide flexible and timely loans to offset the drying up of private capital flows, while the [International Monetary Fund] should bolster its instruments to provide liquidity support to emerging markets,” he said.

Secondly, Mexico endorses government spending to “strengthen social safety nets” and to build roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Mexico also called for fundamental economic reforms in the world market.

“While a market-based economy remains the best way to attain higher levels of growth and well-being, governments need to strengthen the regulation of their domestic financial system in order to cover all intermediaries and financial markets, strengthen corporate governance and promote greater transparency,” he said.

Finally, Mexico rejects protectionist trade policies.

“History has taught us that such policies can turn a recession into a depression,” Mr. Sarukhan said.

BANGLADESH VOTES

Observers from Washington are preparing to travel to Bangladesh to monitor the scheduled Dec. 29 national elections, as the military-backed caretaker government this week announced an end to nearly two years of a state of emergency.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) has already sent a team of 26 observers to check on pre-election conditions in the South Asian nation and plans to send more representatives to monitor the polls on election day.

“The IRI-sponsored observation mission will meet with leaders and officials from political parties and domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, as well as with government officials, election administrators and Bangladeshi citizens,” the think tank said in announcing its election team.

Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group (ICG) urged Bangladesh’s Electoral Commission to open a public awareness campaign to inform citizens on voting procedures and deploy security officials to protect polling places.

In assessing the two major political parties, the ICG noted that the Awami League is “eager to contest the polls promptly,” while the Bangladesh Nationalist Party is in “disarray.”

The interim government, which will allow the parties to begin campaigning Friday, promised to lift all restrictions by next week. It imposed a state of emergency in January 2007 after widespread political violence.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.