President Biden said he “couldn’t have a better partner” than Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a bilateral meeting between the two leaders on Friday.
The pair were meeting in San Francisco with border security, migration and fentanyl trafficking topping their agenda.
“You’ve heard me say it before: nothing is beyond our reach in my view—and I really mean it—when Mexico and the United States stand together and work together as we’ve been doing,” Biden said during the bilateral. “We see it in our security cooperation. We’re working side by side to combat arms trafficking, to tackle organized crime, and to address the opioid epidemic including fentanyl.”
Biden’s relationship with López Obrador has been tense at times, in part due to the U.S. President’s willingness to criticize Mexico on fentanyl production. And the Mexican President snubbed Biden last year by skipping a summit in Los Angeles.
But López Obrador and his government have taken efforts to curb the trafficking of fentanyl from Mexico to the United States. In April members of his security cabinet traveled to the U.S. to brainstorm with American officials ways to obstruct the illegal, northward flow of the synthetic opioid.
“We’re fully aware of the damage [fentanyl} poses to United States youth,” López Obrador said during Friday’s bilateral. “This is a matter of humanism, it’s an act of solidarity. We are sincerely committed to assist at our fullest capacity to prevent trafficking.”
The fentanyl issue is linked to the migration issue. Human smuggling across the United States’ southern border is a part of cartel operations that also include drug trafficking.
Amid a growing number of crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, López Obrador said Mexican officials were working on the “migratory phenomenon” jointly and in coordination with the U.S.
“We wish to assist the people from other countries of origin when they are forced to migrate,” he added, calling the U.S. and Mexico “brotherly countries.”
Biden said, “Together we’re taking a balanced approach that lies at the heart of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection” that the U.S., Mexico and 19 other nations have signed onto.
“That includes enforcing our borders and increasing reparations and opening a historic number of legal pathways for migrants,” Biden noted.
During the bilateral Biden also touted the two countries’ growing their “economic cooperation.”
“We see it in our work to strengthen supply chains, including through The Americas’ Partnership for Economic Prosperity,” said the U.S. President.
Biden has been in San Francisco for the past three days, where he’s been joining other world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week conference.
On Wednesday he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping just outside San Francisco, where the pair struck a deal to curb fentanyl production and to reopen military communications channels between the U.S. and China.