MEXICO- Biden/Lopez Obrador Bilat Underway Shortly
President Biden is shortly due to hold a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the APEC Summit. The bilat, part of a rare foray outside Mexico for AMLO, is expected to focus on trafficking of fentanyl and migration at the US-Mexico border - two major policy vulnerabilities for Biden. Livestream.
- Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian Nichols, told reporters yesterday Biden and AMLO will discuss, "migration, cooperation to combat the scourge of fentanyl trafficking, growing our incredibly vibrant economic cooperation with Mexico, and building on [...] broad cooperation....”
- El Pais notes, in a previewof the meeting, “a delegation led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the Mexican capital in October to hold a tense meeting after Washington’s announcement of an expansion to the border wall. It was also the first time that migration was treated as a national security issue between both governments.”
- On narcotic, El Pais reports: “The Mexican president has insistently stated that fentanyl is not manufactured in Mexico, but local drug cartels are helping smuggle it into the U.S.”
- Biden and AMLO both held bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week and reported progress in counternarcotics but Cecilia Farfán-Méndez, at the University of California San Diego, tells Foreign Policy that, “López Obrador’s track record on fentanyl makes meaningful cooperation difficult for many observers to imagine. The Mexican president’s stances on drug policy are often “regressive” and deprioritize “a public health approach.”