By Agence France-Presse
Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Thursday he will invite US President Donald Trump to his inauguration on December 1, the leftist leader’s latest olive branch after two years of deeply strained ties.
“We are neighboring countries, we have economic and trade relationships, ties of friendship. It is very important to us to cooperate on development. We share 3,180 kilometers of border. So President Trump will be invited,” Lopez Obrador told a press conference.
Whether he comes “will depend on his agenda and his decision,” he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also be invited, he added.
Lopez Obrador won a landslide election victory Sunday to become Mexico’s first leftist leader in recent memory, in a resounding rejection of the two established parties that have ruled the country for nearly a century.
The politician known as “AMLO” had vowed during the campaign to “put (Trump) in his place,” at a time when the Republican president’s anti-trade, anti-immigration policies have infuriated Mexico.
But the two men appear to have hit it off Monday in their first phone call after the election.
Lopez Obrador said he had offered to help reduce US-bound migration — an issue close to Trump’s heart — while Trump called it a “great talk” and said: “I think he is going to try and help us with the border.”
Some commentators have drawn parallels between the two leaders: both are free-trade skeptics with populist tendencies who mobilized a disgruntled base with anti-establishment campaigns.
US-Mexican relations have been strained since Trump won the 2016 vote after a campaign laced with anti-Mexican insults, attacks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and promises to build a wall on the two countries’ border and make Mexico pay for it.
US tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum, Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy on undocumented immigrants, separation of migrant families and two abruptly canceled visits to Washington by current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto have only added to the tension.
Lopez Obrador also announced a reshuffle of his proposed cabinet, proposing former Mexico City mayor Marcelo Ebrard as his foreign minister in place of ex-ambassador Hector Vasconcelos, who will now head to the Senate instead.
Ebrard will be in charge of preparing Lopez Obrador’s meeting on July 13 with visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he said.