WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has agreed to invest in Central America and southern Mexico to promote development and help contain immigration, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Thursday, following a leaders' summit in Washington.
Speaking at a news conference after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held talks, Ebrard said the United States would contribute to a scheme likely called "sembrando oportunidades", or 'planting opportunities'.
Ebrard did not give details, or explain how much would be invested, but said that Mexico's government would be working with U.S. agencies in coming days.
"The most important thing is that there's been a response to what President Lopez Obrador has been proposing in relation to migration and the future," Ebrard said, referring to Lopez Obrador's efforts to encourage development in the region.
Central America and Mexico's poorer south are home to many people who try to cross into the United States illegally.
Ebrard said a proposal by Lopez Obrador to spur investment in North America to substitute imports and reduce dependence on suppliers from outside the region was "very well received".
"Because when the supply chains come under stress, you end up very vulnerable," Ebrard said.
His ministry also said there had been agreement among the leaders on the need to take a coordinated approach to stemming illegal inflows of hundreds of thousands of guns into Mexico, where many end up in the hands of gangs.
Ebrard said the governments had agreed that Mexico City would host the next North American leaders' summit next year, and that the chemistry between the three men was positive.
"Above all, it means there's a restatement of a shared vision of North America in terms of the economy and technological development," the minister said.
(Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Robert Birsel)