Mexican Leader Says he Shares Biden’s Priorities

Mexico City, Jan 20 (AFP/APP): Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Wednesday that he shared Joe Biden’s policy priorities and wished him success ahead of his inauguration.

“I agree with his three main approaches… (tackling the) pandemic, economic reactivation and migration. And of course, wishing that President Biden does very well in his administration,” he told reporters.

Lopez Obrador added that he hoped for a smooth and peaceful inauguration ceremony for the Democrat. The Mexican leader was one of the last high-profile leaders to congratulate the former vice president on his election victory, saying he wanted to wait until legal disputes were resolved. The leftwing populist has had cordial relations with Donald Trump, despite the outgoing president’s fiery rhetoric.

Trump sparked anger during his 2016 election campaign when he branded Mexican migrants “rapists” and drug dealers, and vowed to build a wall across the southern US border. Biden’s aides said that he would halt construction of that wall as part of a flurry of orders and actions after being sworn in. He also plans to send a bill to Congress to revamp immigration policies and give millions of undocumented migrants living in the country a path to citizenship. Analysts expect Biden to closely monitor Mexico’s labor and energy commitments under a North American trade deal that was renegotiated under Trump.

Biden takes over the White House at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Mexico over the case of a former defense minister accused of cartel ties. The US Justice Department on Saturday threatened to end law enforcement collaboration with Mexico after Lopez Obrador accused the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of fabricating evidence.

Retired general Salvador Cienfuegos was accused by the US of conspiring to produce and distribute “thousands of kilograms” of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. Mexico successfully pushed for him to be sent home to face a possible trial, but prosecutors last week exonerated the 72-year-old, to the dismay of the US authorities.

Lopez Obrador has insisted, however, that the case will not affect relations between the neighbours.

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