US, Mexico in flurry of talks amid migration, drug rows
The United States and Mexico starting Friday will hold two top-level meetings in less than a week as the neighbors face growing pressure over migration and drug smuggling.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and top US trade officials are holding talks Friday in Washington with Mexican Foreign Secretary Alicia Barcena and commercial officials that will touch on economic issues affecting both sides of the 1,954-mile (3,145-kilometer) border.
On Thursday, Blinken in turn will travel to Mexico City for talks focused on security, State Department officials said.
Blinken will be accompanied on the trip by Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“These dialogues are really the scaffolding for economic and security cooperation with Mexico,” a senior US official said on customary condition of anonymity.
The pair of annual talks “assess our progress and drive strategic priorities for the coming year,” she said.
No meeting was immediately announced between Blinken and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Barcena told the United Nations last week that Lopez Obrador wants to meet with US President Joe Biden to discuss migration, as Mexico is “overwhelmed” by people coming from violence-wracked Central America and Venezuela.
She appealed for help, saying that Mexico was processing 140,000 asylum applications a year and supporting migrants as they await decisions on entering the United States.
Under a setup dating from Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, Mexico has agreed to keep migrants as they seek to enter the United States, where migration has become a major political issue.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.