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Incoming Mexico FM vows foreign investment to entice migrants to stay home

© AFP | Mexico's Secretary-designate of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard listens to Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland during a press conference at Global Affairs in Ottawa, Ontario, on October 22, 2018

OTTAWA (AFP) - 

Incoming Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard vowed Monday to try to stem Central America's huge outflow of migrants by boosting investment in their home countries.

The comments during a visit to Ottawa followed US President Donald Trump's almost-daily Twitter attacks on a caravan of thousands of mostly Honduran migrants rolling toward the US border.

"The tweets we've been seeing lately do not surprise me, they do not surprise the government. It's very close to the (midterm) elections in the United States," Ebrard said.

Speaking through an interpreter, he did not address the caravan itself.

However, he promised "substantial changes" to Mexico's migrant policy when president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is sworn in on December 1.

"There are going to be many more work visas," Ebrard said.

"We're going to invest in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. We are working closely on that. And we're going to invest significantly in the south of Mexico."

"We're going to make a very significant investment so there will be work opportunities and we believe that on all of this we can base a new Mexican immigration policy."

Mexican authorities had managed to block the caravan of migrants on a border bridge between Mexico and Guatemala, but many later crossed the river below in makeshift rafts before marching north.

Around 3,000 migrants were heading Monday to the town of Huixtla, around 40 kilometers further on from Tapachula in Chiapas State where they slept Sunday night.

Trump responded by threatening to cut off or reduce aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, while alerting the US border patrol and military.

Activists say the journey through Mexico to the US border could take a month.

© 2018 AFP