Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is due to meet on Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and others for talks in Mexico City.

The meeting will be the first major face-to-face discussions between Lopez Obrador and his team and U.S. officials since the leftist won a landslide victory on July 1.

The 64-year-old Lopez Obrador, who will replace outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto as Mexico’s leader on Dec. 1, said the fact Trump was sending several top officials to Mexico offered grounds for optimism about the upcoming relationship.

“We want to make that the key focus of the relationship with the U.S. government and are grateful that it’s understood this way, and there are signs with the Treasury Secretary’s visit that we can reach a deal for development, and job creation and welfare,” Lopez Obrador told reporters in Mexico City. “This is what matters most to us, and what we will press for most.”

Ties between the neighboring countries have been strained under Trump and Pena Nieto due to the American’s insistence that Mexico pay for his planned border wall, as well as his push to rework the NAFTA trade deal to the United States’ advantage.

Lopez Obrador and Trump, both regarded as political mavericks, spoke by telephone after the Mexican’s victory.

The subject of the wall did not come up in their call, nor was it on the agenda for Friday’s talks, said Marcelo Ebrard, Lopez Obrador’s pick to be Mexican foreign minister.

Various nominees to serve in Lopez Obrador’s cabinet will sit down alongside ministers from the current Mexican administration during Friday’s talks, which will also include U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Ebrard said.

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Jul 11, 2018 08:11 Asia/Tehran
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