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Mexico thanks 'friend' Trump for virus ventilators

Coronavirus infections in Mexico are expected to peak in the coming days
Coronavirus infections in Mexico are expected to peak in the coming days PEDRO PARDO AFP/File
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Mexico City (AFP)

Mexico's government thanked US President Donald Trump on Tuesday and called him a "friend" for providing support to help the country tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard praised the US for having supplied Mexico with desperately needed ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients.

"Today we want to heartily thank the United States government, in particular President Trump because ... he made sure this happened," said Ebrard.

"And as the expression goes: it is when there is adversity that you come to know your friends and today ... the airplane he promised is arriving."

Mexico is receiving 211 ventilators worth between $16,000 and $24,000 each at a time when "we're at the peak" of the pandemic, Ebrard said.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said a planned meeting with Trump in June or July would be used to express solidarity with the US population and to thank them "for the help we received in confronting the pandemic."

It will also be an occasion to celebrate the adoption of a renewed trade deal signed between the two countries and Canada, due to go into effect on July 1.

Lopez Obrador added that he may also discuss migration with Trump at their next meeting. Building a wall on the southern border of the US to stop migrants entering the country from Mexico has been a major campaign pledge by Trump, who is running for re-election in November.

"We're not going to interfere in the electoral politics or internal politics of another country, but if it relates to the defense of our countrymen we would speak openly," said Lopez Obrador.

"And we would do so formally to Trump who, I repeat, has been very respectful to us."

Mexico's government expects to reach the peak of its coronavirus infections on Wednesday. It estimates the virus to cause 6,000 deaths in total.

By Monday, there had been just under 25,000 infections and 2,271 deaths.

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