BEIRUT: Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil concluded his tour of Latin America Wednesday after a visit to Mexico City, where he met with his Mexican counterpart Luis Videgaray Caso.
The two held talks on the current situation in the Middle East, and both sides agreed to "re-launch free trade negotiations between the two countries, as they are currently suspended,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry read.
Caso emphasized his desire “not to repeat the recent government crisis in order to preserve Lebanon's stability.”
Bassil also met with members of the Lebanese community in Mexico, to whom he said, "Lebanon is living its true independence this year. We have fulfilled our independence because we have restored our self-determination.”
Bassil added, “We must maintain this independence through unity. We refuse to be an affiliate of any axis."
Bassil also met with members of the Lebanese diaspora at the Lebanese club, where he was received by club president Alejandro Cerio.
To an audience at the club, he said, “Lebanon was promised an economic renaissance by signing oil and gas drilling contracts.”
He also announced the opening of the Lebanese-Mexican expatriate house in Batroun, set for next May, and urged Mexico's Lebanese community to participate in the Diaspora Energy Conference to be held soon in Beirut. He also encouraged them to attend the conference scheduled for 2018 in Argentina.
He concluded by asking the diaspora to participate in Lebanon’s upcoming parliamentary elections, saying "the Lebanese are not complete without citizenship."
Cerio said he considered the club a small piece of Lebanon in Mexico, adding that “those in Mexico are working to preserve what they have learned from their family and from their association with Lebanon.”
Mexico is home to a sizeable Lebanese community, though a report aired by local channel MTV on Monday suggested that just 370 expats in the country had registered to vote remotely in the elections scheduled for spring/summer 2018.