Kamala Harris photo

Remarks by the Vice President and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico Prior to a Virtual Meeting

May 07, 2021

Via Teleconference

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Good morning, Mr. President. Good morning. It is my honor to meet with you.

PRESIDENT LÓPEZ OBRADOR: (As interpreted.) Good morning.

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: It is my honor to meet you again and to speak with you this morning.

PRESIDENT LÓPEZ OBRADOR: (As interpreted.) It's a pleasure, once again, to see you.

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: And I'm sure I don't need to say, but I will, that Mexico is our closest neighbor. And we share a border, of course, but we also share the values of dignity and respect. We share the bonds of family and friendship. And we also share, of course, a long, deep, and complex history.

We have put in the work, however, that I believe is required to build a productive partnership and to build on the work we have done in the past. And this partnership, I believe, couldn't be more important today. Our nations face serious challenges: COVID being an obvious one, economic repercussions coming from the COVID pandemic, as well as the surge of migrants arriving at our shared border.

Together, we must fight violence. We must fight corruption and impunity. It is in our country's mutual interest to provide immediate relief to the Northern Triangle and to address the root causes of migration. You and I have discussed before an understanding and a belief: Most people don't want to leave home. And when they do, it is often because they are fleeing some harm or they are forced to leave because there's no opportunity in their home.

And so, this is in our mutual interest to address some of these root causes. And we must continue to do our work in a way that is both bilateral and multilateral.

It is our intention and it has been a guiding principle of us that we are going to do this work in a way that internationalizes our approach, that reaches out to our allies, to our friends around the globe in the mutual interest we all should have to address the root causes in the Northern Triangle.

And our approach is a comprehensive-strategy approach. Our approach is to work with international institutions, to work with nations worldwide, the private sector, and community organizations.

And all of that being said, Mr. President, I believe there's one more thing that our nations share, and it is the belief that together we can make progress and we can create and build a sense of hope for the people of the Northern Triangle for the future.

And so, Mr. President, again, it is -- it is my honor to meet with you. And I look forward to visiting with you in person in June. And, with that, I thank you for joining us this morning.

PRESIDENT LÓPEZ OBRADOR: (As interpreted.) Once again, it is a pleasure to see you again, and I celebrate this meeting. It is my hope that this will be a permanent and constant relationship between us.

I believe that this was a very positive, a very good decision, and we thank President Biden for naming you to lead all things related to migration. This is a topic, as I understand, that is very important to President Biden, as you have been appointed, as Vice President, to lead all efforts regarding these issues.

It is in our best interests based on our political, historical, and friendship relations. Sometimes there have been differences among us. However, we have a common border that is over 3,000 kilometers long, and we need to understand one another and avoid fighting.

I was saying to President Biden last time we met that when our relations were not completely positive between our countries, our President, Porfirio Díaz, at a time -- during his administration, would say, "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States." (Laughter.)

However, now, we can say -- because our relations are so much better, we can say, "Blessed Mexico, so close to God and not so far from the United States." (Laughter.)

So I am sure we will keep understanding one another. We have so many things in common. And we are in agreement when it comes to the policies that you are undertaking when it comes to migration, and we will help.

That is what I can say as of now. You can count on us. We have a specific proposal that I believe could be convenient for us, but I will leave that to -- I will leave that for later.

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Okay. Well, thank you, Mr. President. I look forward to our conversation. We have many details to discuss, and I will bid farewell to the press that are in our room right now so we can begin our discussion, and I look forward to it.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Kamala Harris, Remarks by the Vice President and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico Prior to a Virtual Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/349849

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