President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reiterated Friday that Mexico is ready to act as mediator between the Venezuelan government and opposition.
Asked about the Venezuelan crisis a day after Mexico and Uruguay extended a joint offer of mediation, Lopez Obrador told reporters at his daily press conference that his foreign policy is anchored in the Mexican constitution's principles of non-intervention and respect for the sovereignty of peoples.
"It's not that we are for or against anyone, we are for defending the constitutional principles of foreign policy," the president said.
Regarding the possibility of mediation, the leftist leader said that his government is more than willing to exercise that role, but only if both sides in Venezuela agree.
"We could do it, but we could not carry it out if there isn't a request from both parties. We will not meddle. We will respect our principles and if the parties request it, we are disposed to help them have this dialogue," he said.
He added that he had already instructed Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard "to support to the extent of our possibilities, without interference in the conflict" and without taking any sides.
"This has to do with a historical tradition of our country in foreign policy. We should not get involved in the affairs of other peoples or nations, because we do not want any hegemony or foreign government to intervene in matters that only concern Mexicans," Lopez Obrador said.
Venezuela's political crisis moved into a more acute phase on Wednesday when the speaker of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, Juan Guaido, proclaimed himself interim head of state.
The opposition, supported by the United States and Washington's allies in Latin America, say that last May's presidential election was illegitimate and they refuse to recognize leftist incumbent Nicolas Maduro as president.
On Thursday, Maduro accepted the offer of mediation from Mexico and Uruguay during a speech at Venezuela's Supreme Court.
"Together, the governments of Uruguay and Mexico are calling upon all parties involved, both within the country and abroad, to reduce tensions and prevent an escalation of violence that could aggravate the situation," Montevideo and Mexico City said in a statement released by the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry.
Clashes in recent days between opposition protesters and Venezuelan security forces have led to at least 20 deaths and 350 arrests, according to figures from human rights organizations.