Monday, June 17, 2024

López Obrador, Peña Nieto have ‘cordial, friendly’ meeting to discuss transition

Andrés Manuel López Obrador met today with the man he will replace to become Mexico’s 58th president after he is sworn in on December 1.

Following an hour-long meeting at the National Palace in Mexico City’s historic center, the Morena party leader told a press conference that his encounter with President Enrique Peña Nieto was cordial and friendly and that the pair had agreed to work towards achieving an orderly and peaceful transition.

López Obrador, who swept to victory in a landslide Sunday with 53% of the vote, said that he and Peña Nieto discussed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the construction of the new Mexico City International Airport, the 2013 energy reform, the budget and security.

“The president had an open attitude,” the veteran leftist said, adding that Peña Nieto had offered that a meeting take place between the current finance secretary and his successor so that they could discuss the 2019 budget.

AMLO, as he is known by supporters and detractors alike, said that next year’s budget will include the pledges he made on the campaign trail, such as those to increase pensions for the elderly, offer more educational scholarships and work opportunities to the young and cut the salaries of high-ranking government officials.

López Obrador reaffirmed his commitment to work with the NAFTA negotiating team that is already in place and said he would continue to support Peña Nieto until the end of his six-year term.

With regard to the new airport, AMLO said that once he is formally the president-elect, joint teams will be formed to carry out an analysis of the US $13-billion project to determine “what is best for the general interest.”

The former Mexico City mayor has previously said that he would scrap the project, charging that it is corrupt, too expensive and not needed. An existing air base in México state could be used for commercial flights, López Obrador has proposed.

AMLO said today he had accepted Peña Nieto’s invitation to attend a Pacific Alliance meeting in Puerto Vallarta later this month.

He also said the government he leads will be “respectful of the autonomy of the Bank of México” and that “a macro-economic policy with fiscal balances” will be maintained.

López Obrador thanked Peña Nieto for not interfering in the electoral process, which he described as clean and fair. The president in turn pledged that the federal government would contribute to an orderly and efficient transition.

The “virtual” president-elect also said that as a result of his telephone conversation with United States President Donald Trump yesterday, it was agreed that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would visit Mexico to meet with him.

Mexican and U.S. officials announced shortly after that Pompeo will travel to Mexico on July 13 to meet with Peña Nieto and López Obrador. He will also meet with Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray Caso.

“Secretary Pompeo will reaffirm the partnership with Mexico to combat transnational criminal organizations and also the opioid epidemic,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. “He will also discuss efforts to enhance trade, curb irregular migration and manage our shared border.”

Source: Milenio (sp), The Hill (en)

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