Mexico summoned Uruguay’s ambassador on Sunday after the South American country’s president described Mexico as a kind of “failed state” in a magazine interview.

President Jose Mujica’s comments were in response to a question about 43 college students missing in southern Mexico and appeared in Foreign Affairs’ Latin American edition.

But late Sunday Mujica released a statement on Uruguay’s presidential website backing away from the comment and saying that Mexico wasn’t a failed state.

“The crude news that reaches us about the consequences of drug trafficking in countries like Guatemala, Honduras and now Mexico shout to us a lesson of true pain that could show us our own futures,” the left-leaning leader said. But “they are not, nor will be, these nations, innocuous or failed states…”

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