Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Friday gave visiting U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a set of proposals on how both countries could work together to address thorny issues ranging from trade to migration.

 Lopez Obrador’s aides didn’t disclose the details of his proposals, saying they wanted to wait for President Donald Trump to see them first. But the Mexican leftist has repeatedly talked about how he would like to see an ambitious, U.S.-led development plan for Mexico and Central America that would attack the roots of poverty, violence and migration.

Marcelo Ebrard, who has been named to be México’s next foreign minister, described the meetings as “frank, respectful and cordial,” giving cause for “reasonable optimism.”

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to strengthen and improve ties with Mexico after “bumps in the road,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Mexico’s next leader on Friday, following the leftist’s landslide victory this month.

The visit by Pompeo and other top U.S. officials was, Pompeo said, intended to signal the “deep importance” Trump gives to what has been an increasingly strained bilateral relationship.

López Obrador has been highly critical of Trump’s immigration policies, including his crackdown on undocumented migrants crossing into the U.S. He has called the U.S.-backed drug war a failure and has proposed an amnesty for some people involved in the growing of marijuana and opium poppy used to make heroin.

He blames much of Mexico’s rising crime, as well as migration from Mexico and Central America, on inequality and poverty, and sees economic development as the way to combat it.

As the U.S. convoy arrived at  López Obrador’s offices in the capital’s Roma neighborhood, small groups of protesters demanded a change in Mr. Trump’s immigration policy.

“Children are not criminals! Children are not criminals!” they shouted at the tinted windows of the SUVs carrying the U.S. delegation, a reference to Mr. Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings.

 

Jul 14, 2018 07:40 Asia/Tehran
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