Washington, Mar 1 (efe-epa).- US President Joe Biden said Monday that he will treat Mexico as an “equal” because both countries are “stronger” when they work together as he held a virtual meeting with his Mexican counterpart, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
“We look at Mexico as an equal, not as somebody who is south of our border. You are equal, and what you do in Mexico and how you succeed impacts dramatically what the rest of the hemisphere will look like,” Biden told the Mexican leader in his introductory remarks.
“The United States and Mexico are stronger when we stand together. … There is a long and complicated history between our nations that haven’t always been perfect neighbors with one another, but we have seen over and over again the power and purpose when we cooperate. And we’re safer when we work together, whether it’s addressing the challenges of our shared border or getting this pandemic under control,” the US president said.
Lopez Obrador, in turn, emphasized the importance of “constant dialogue” in building “good relationships” between the governments of the two nations and among their top officials.
Seated between the US and Mexican flags in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for the virtual meeting, Biden said that he was pleased to be able to speak with Lopez Obrador, who is the second world leader who has met virtually with the US president since he was inaugurated on Jan. 20, the first being Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who met with Biden last week.
Biden noted that when he served as US vice president from 2009-2017 he made four visits to Mexico and was able to get to know the country and its people a bit, adding that he has a bust of Mexican-American labor leader Cesar Chavez in the Oval Office.
One of the journalists who received access to the beginning of the meeting asked Biden if the US will send coronavirus vaccine to Mexico and the US president responded “We’re going to talk about that.”
Shortly before that, however, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at her daily press conference that Biden has no intention of sharing part of the US vaccine supplies with Mexico, as Lopez Obrador has requested, because he wants first to guarantee that there is sufficient vaccine to immunize all Americans.
Present at the meeting were Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as well as Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, and the president’s homeland security advisor, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall.
Rounding out the US delegation was the White House coordinator for the southern border, former US Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson, and the senior director for the Western Hemisphere in the National Security Council, Juan Gonzalez.
The Mexican officials present for the meeting were, among others, Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard; Economy Secretary Tatiana Clouthier; the head of Public Security and Citizen Protection, Rosa Icela Rodriguez; Assistant National Defense Secretary Andre Georges Foullon Van Lissum; and Assistant Navy Secretary Eduardo Redondo Aramburo, according to the White House.