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Mexico reaches water deal with U.S., avoiding bust-up

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has reached a deal to honor a 1944 bilateral water-sharing agreement with the United States, tapping international dams to make up a shortfall, the government said on Thursday, heading off the risk of conflict with Washington.

For weeks, doubts have swirled over Mexico’s ability deliver its share of the water due to the United States under the accord as droughts in the north of the country sparked a row between the central government and the border state of Chihuahua.

Speaking at a regular news briefing, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Mexico had sealed a deal with the United States to fulfill its obligations, under which water would be drawn from international dams also used for human consumption.

Thanking U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration for showing “solidarity” over the issue, Lopez Obrador said the United States had agreed to help Mexico in the unlikely event of an emergency arising over water supply.

“We had a few difficulties to satisfy this accord, but they understood the special circumstances,” Lopez Obrador said.

Farmers in Chihuahua had resisted the extraction of water from a major local dam due to the drought. They won support from the opposition-fronted state government, prompting a fractious stand-off with the Lopez Obrador administration.

Each side accused the other of politicizing the issue.

Meanwhile, U.S. farmers were pressing the Trump administration to make Mexico meet its obligations.

Reporting by Mexico City Newsroom; Editing by Dave Graham and Nick Zieminski

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