Mexico's new president signs pact on migrants

Published: December 02, 2018 21:06:13

In one of his first acts in office, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has signed an agreement with his counterparts from three Central American countries to establish a development plan to stem the flow of migrants seeking asylum in the US, reports AP.

The Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that the plan includes a fund to generate jobs in the region and aims to attack the structural causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Thousands of migrants, mostly Hondurans, have joined caravans in recent weeks in an effort to speed through Mexico to request refuge at the US border.

Dozens of migrants interviewed by The Associated Press have said they are fleeing poverty and violence in their countries of origin.

Mexico's newly inaugurated president has been formally anointed leader by indigenous groups at a ceremony at Mexico City's main square hours after he took the oath of office at Congress.

Mexico has more than 70 indigenous communities, and new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to end centuries of poverty and marginalisation for them.

Traditional healers brushed Lopez Obrador with bunches of herbs and blew incense smoke over him to purify him. They then invoked the spirits of their ancestors and the land to liberate him from any bad influences, turning to the four cardinal points with individual prayers.

Indigenous activist Carmen Santiago Alonso then handed the president a ceremonial wooden staff denoting leadership. It is the first time a Mexican president has ever taken part in this kind of ceremonial inauguration by indigenous groups.

New Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador reached out to the U.S. and Canada in his inaugural speech to Congress.

The first foreign dignitaries he greeted from the podium Saturday were U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump.

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