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UPDATED: 10:43, October 19, 2006
Mexican gov't upbeat about solving teachers' strike with dialogue
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The Mexican government would solve the teachers' strike in the southern state of Oaxaca by peaceful means and dialogue, presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar Valenzuela said on Wednesday.

President Vicente Fox would meet cabinet members to discuss the issue, the spokesman said.

The strike began on May 22 as the teachers from the 70,000-strong section 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) and members of the Oaxacan Peoples Popular Assembly (APPO) demonstrated for higher pay.

The protestors have now occupied the center of Oaxaca, capital city of the Oaxaca state, demanding the resignation of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.

Some government buildings and radio stations were also occupied by the demonstrators.

The spokesman said the conflict would be solved before the end of the current administration on Nov. 30, adding that solving national problems peacefully was a characteristic of the Fox administration.

During the five-month strike, some 1.2 million primary and secondary students could not attend classes, and at least five people have died, four of them teachers.

In Oaxaca, Enrique Rueda, secretary general of SNTE's section 22, told media that the teachers would vote on returning to work, but he added that this decision had not been made under pressure, neither from the central government's Public Education Ministry, nor from SNTE President Elba Ester Gordillo.

Gordillo has distanced herself from the strike, calling it a political movement rather than a union, and she has called for the creation of a new SNTE section 22 to represent teachers there.

In response, Rueda said Gordillo's statement was "unfortunate and does nothing towards solving problems here."

Rueda also called for the central legislature to declare a dissolution of powers.

A special committee from the upper house of Mexico's legislature, the Senate, will discuss a possible dissolution of powers on Wednesday and present a resolution to be voted on by the whole chamber on Thursday.

Source: Xinhua

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