Incoming Mexican foreign minister says Trump tweets not surprising

Marcelo Ebrard, picked by Mexico's President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as an Foreign Minister, gestures during a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico October 1, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Incoming Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday he was not surprised about tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump raising an alarm over a caravan of migrants in Mexico and linked the comments to upcoming U.S. elections.

Ebrard, who will take up his post when president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is sworn in Dec. 1, also told reporters the new government would seek to stem future caravans by offering many more work visas to people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Trump on Monday termed the caravan bound for the United States a national emergency as he sought to boost his party’s chances in the Nov. 6 congressional elections.

“The tweets we’ve been seeing lately do not surprise me, they do not surprise the government. It’s very close to the mid-term elections in the United States,” Ebrard said after talks with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland in Ottawa.

Ebrard, who spoke through an interpreter, did not respond directly when asked what the new government would do about the caravan. Instead, he promised substantial changes to Mexico’s immigration policy.

“There are going to be many more work visas. We are going to invest in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. We are working closely with them on that, and we are going invest significantly in the south of Mexico,” he said.

Ebrard will take up his post on Dec. 1 when president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is sworn in.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe