In Mexico, Harris defends against criticism over border

WION Web Team
Mexico City Published: Jun 09, 2021, 07:47 AM(IST)

File photo of US Vice President Kamala Harris Photograph:( Reuters )

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Speaking at the start of their bilateral meeting at the Mexican national palace, Harris emphasised the longstanding 'interdependence and interconnection' of the two nations

Vice President Kamala Harris told Mexico's President Andrés Manuel onLópez Obrador on Tuesday that the United States and Mexico are 'embarking on a new era' during her first in-person meeting with the leader, as she seeks to foster greater cooperation with Mexico on immigration to the US.

Speaking at the start of their bilateral meeting at the Mexican national palace, Harris emphasised the longstanding 'interdependence and interconnection' of the two nations.

Joined by her top foreign policy aides for the region, the two leaders met for over an hour in an elegant conference room at the palace, seated across from each other under a grand crystal chandelier.

Just prior to the meeting, Harris and López Obrador watched as the Mexican foreign affairs secretary and the chargé d'affaires of the US Embassy in Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at greater cooperation between the two countries on development programmes in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Harris was slated to meet with female entrepreneurs and labor leaders in Mexico before heading back to Washington on Tuesday night. The visit to Mexico capped Harris' first foreign trip as vice president, a brief foray focused on dealing with the root causes of migration that brought her first to Guatemala on Monday.

While in Guatemala, she met President Alejandro Giammattei. To coincide with their meeting, the Biden administration announced a number of new commitments to combat trafficking, smuggling, and corruption, as well as investments in economic development in the country.

Her visit to Mexico didn't yield any clear and concrete agreements; instead she emphasised the importance of the relationship.

López Obrador remains a key but complicated ally in the Biden administration's efforts to curb the spike in migration at the US border.

While López Obrador committed in a previous virtual meeting with Harris that the US can 'count on us' to help address irregular migration, the Mexican president has in the past blamed President Joe Biden for the increase in migration at the border. And he was chummy with Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, despite that president's hardline border policies.

(With inputs from agencies)

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