Mexican leader confident of good relations with US under Biden

Mexico City, Dec 21 (efe-epa).- Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday that he does not plan to seek in-person talks with Joe Biden once the Democrat is inaugurated as president of the United States on Jan. 20.

“That wasn’t discussed. There is no need,” he said at his daily morning press conference when asked whether he had proposed a meeting during his telephone conversation with Biden on Saturday.

“The relationship is good,” the Mexican president, known as AMLO, said of ties with the US. “This will be in the hands of the diplomats.”

AMLO’s only foreign trip since becoming head of state two years ago was a visit to the White House last July to join President Donald Trump for the formal enactment of the US-Mexico-Canada pact that replaced the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard and Mexico’s new ambassador in Washington, Esteban Moctezuma, will work with incoming US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to establish “the guidelines” of the bilateral relationship, AMLO said.

“There is nothing to fear. Relations with the current government of the United States are very good and there is nothing that indicates any sign of bad relations with the government that President Biden will head,” Mexico’s leader said.

AMLO was criticized in Mexico for putting off congratulating Biden on his victory in the Nov. 3 election until after the US Electoral College officially proclaimed the Democrat the winner on Dec. 14.

Saturday’s call between Biden and AMLO was devoted mainly to the thorny issue of migration.

Describing his exchange with Biden as “fraternal” and respectful, AMLO said that they talked about the plan Mexico put forward to reduce the northward flow of migrants from Central America by creating jobs in the region.

Biden, according to AMLO, understands that “people leave their places of origin out of necessity and not by choice.”

“It was very friendly, in the interest of both countries. We care a lot about the situation of our migrant compatriots. I think the relationship will be very good in that regard,” the Mexican president said.

Biden’s team offered a similar take on the call.

“The two leaders noted a shared desire to address the root causes of migration in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and southern Mexico and to build a future of greater opportunity and security for the region,” the transition said in a statement.

The new administration in Washington will work with Mexico and Central American nations “to build the regional and border infrastructure and capacity needed to facilitate a new orderly and humane approach to migration that will respect international norms regarding the treatment of asylum claims,” the statement said.

In the face of a threat from Trump to levy tariffs on all Mexican imports, AMLO’s government deployed security forces to stop Central Americans from crossing the country to reach the US.

AMLO also accepted an arrangement, dubbed Remain in Mexico, that has seen thousands of migrants sitting in shelters or camps on the Mexican side of the border as they await processing of their applications for asylum in the US.

Biden said during the election campaign that he would end the Remain in Mexico program. EFE isp-er/dr

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