Mexico-Venezuela extradition goes into effect

An extradition treaty between Mexico and Venezuela went into effect on Thursday, a move the Mexican government said shows the relationship between the two nations is moving forward despite a diplomatic spat that saw both countries withdraw their ambassadors earlier this month. The agreement, which provides for the extradition of citizens of both countries, was signed in 1998, formalized on Oct. 25 and went into effect Thursday. "The entry into effect of this treaty shows the clear interest of Mexico and Venezuela to broaden their legal frameworks and, in the current context, demonstrates their willingness not only to maintain their historic relationship, but also to expand them," the Foreign Relations Secretariat said in a press statement.

Mexico now has 26 extradition agreements, 17 of them with other Latin American nations.

The diplomatic spat between the two countries began following last month's Summit of the Americas in Argentina, when Mexican President Vicente Fox criticized left-leaning Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for opposing a U.S.-backed Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Chavez responded by calling Mexico an "ally of the empire" for supporting the proposal, and by warning Fox: "Don't mess with me." The two countries recalled their ambassadors Nov. 15. On Wednesday, Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said Mexico continues to demand an apology for Chavez's remarks about Fox but that "there are many ways to ask for an apology."

Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said his country was willing to talk, but rejected the call for an apology or any other "impositions," reports the AP. I.L.

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