Pompeo, Mexican foreign minister to meet on migration

Mexico City (AFP) –


Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said he would meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday for talks on migration and Mexico's proposal for a massive economic development plan to slow it.

"Our thesis is that unless you invest in Central America on a major scale, especially in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the flow of migrants isn't going to change," Ebrard told journalists in Mexico City on Wednesday, announcing his trip to Washington.

"We're going to insist on that every chance we get, because that's the solution and that's the reality."

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is pushing the United States to help fund an ambitious development plan for Mexico and Central America, which he insists is the key to slowing the flow of undocumented migrants who have infuriated his American counterpart, Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, Lopez Obrador and the United Nations's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean presented a decade-long, $10-billion-a-year infrastructure and investment package that some have dubbed a "Marshall Plan" for Mexico and Central America.

The plan aims to address the poverty and violence driving tens of thousands of Central Americans to leave the region in search of a better life in the United States.

The number of migrant families detained on the US southern border hit a record of more than 58,000 last month, driven by the Central American exodus.

Lopez Obrador, a left-wing populist who took office in December, has sought to maintain cordial relations with Trump, answering his fiery anti-migrant rhetoric with restrained calls for development funding.

However, Trump renewed his attacks on Mexico on Tuesday, tweeting: "I am very disappointed that Mexico is doing virtually nothing to stop illegal immigrants from coming to our Southern Border.... I will soon be giving a response!"

Lopez Obrador reiterated that he wants a relationship of "peace and love" with Mexico's largest trading partner.

"We're not going to fight," he said.