German president urges Mexico to stand against Russian invasion

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German President Steinmeier awards orders of merit to Nobel laureates, in Berlin

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday urged the Mexican government to stand with Europe in opposing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, invoking the spirit of one of Mexico's legendary leaders in his appeal.

In a speech to the Mexican Senate following a meeting with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Steinmeier said failure to close ranks against Moscow's attack on Ukraine posed a threat to global democracy.

"For us, Germans and Mexicans, for the democratic world to emerge stronger from this conflict, a common position must be held," Steinmeier said.

"We must be united in isolating an aggressor that attempts to replace the strength of the law with the law of the stronger," he added.

Lopez Obrador has condemned Russia's invasion but strived to maintain a neutral stance in the conflict, declining to participate in sanctions against Moscow and criticizing western powers for supplying arms to Ukraine.

Steinmeier said that to normalize "border violations and land grabs" would be to open "Pandora's box" and ultimately threaten the whole world.

"It is to leave once and for all the path taken by Benito Juarez, who said: 'respect for the rights of others means peace'."

A 19th century icon of Mexican politics who opposed the French invasion of his country in the 1860s, Juarez has been described by Lopez Obrador as the best president in Mexico's history.

Lopez Obrador has himself repeatedly made reference to the words of Juarez quoted by Steinmeier when urging countries to show mutual respect.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Stephen Eisenhammer)