Mexico's Lopez Obrador, Harris discuss migration, boosting Central American economies

  • World
  • Monday, 09 Aug 2021

FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Zaragoza-Ysleta border bridge crossing towards El Paso, Texas, U.S., as Mexico's Department of Foreign Relations requested another month-long extension on land-crossing restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico October 19, 2020. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke on Monday about migration, the battle against COVID-19, and the need to strengthen Central American economies, the White House said in a statement.

In a brief statement on Twitter, Lopez Obrador said the conversation, which started around 4 p.m. (2100 GMT), had been good and that he would provide more details on Tuesday.

The White House said the two leaders discussed ongoing bilateral cooperation to address "irregular migration" to the shared U.S.-Mexican border, and agreed to focus on bolstering Central American economies through investment in agriculture and climate resilience.

Harris updated Lopez Obrador on U.S. efforts, including the July 29 release of the U.S. strategy for addressing the root causes of migration in Central America.

The U.S. vice president also told Lopez Obrador that Washington was committed to sending additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Mexico, on top of the 4 million doses already delivered, the White House said.

Speaking before the call, a senior U.S. official said the vaccines could come from multiple manufacturers, including Moderna Inc and AstraZeneca PLC.

Earlier, Lopez Obrador said he and Harris would discuss reopening the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration and vaccines against COVID-19, new cases of which have jumped in Mexico.

Speaking at a regular morning news conference, the Mexican president said vaccinations along Mexico's border with the United States had led to fewer hospitalizations and deaths in the face of rising infections on both sides.

"This is what I'm going to suggest today, that we can demonstrate that we're not putting the population at risk," Lopez Obrador said in the northern city of Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.

The United States has already lent a few million vaccine doses to Mexico, and would be sharing more with it than with any other country, reflecting the importance it attached to the bilateral relationship, the U.S. official said.

The countries' 2,000-mile (3,200-km) border has been closed to non-essential travel since early in the pandemic last year.

(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Raul Cortes in Mexico City and Nandita Bose and Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Dave Graham, Peter Cooney and Karishma Singh)

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