September 10, 2019 / 5:05 AM / 2 months ago

Honduras says not considering safe third country migration deal with U.S.

FILE PHOTO: Hondurans wait outside a bus while a policeman inspect their belongings as they begin their journey towards the United States, at a police checkpoint in Cucuyagua, Honduras, January 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras is not considering a so-called safe third country designation for migrants seeking refuge in the United States, Foreign Minister Lisandro Rosales said late on Monday, denying reports of a deal agreed with U.S. officials.

The United States has persuaded neighboring Guatemala to become a safe third country that would accept U.S.-bound asylum seekers, part of a larger effort by President Donald Trump to reduce the flow of migrants.

The deal has yet to be ratified by Guatemala’s government.

A safe third country designation would require asylum seekers to apply for protections in any legally-designated “safe” country they pass through before reaching the United States.

U.S. authorities have said they were working with Honduras on a similar deal, but Rosales said no such agreement is in the works.

“Contrary to some publications, the talks with the United States do not contemplate that Honduras become a safe third country,” the minister wrote in a post on Twitter.

Rosales added that the talks are instead focused on regional security, promoting investment and orderly migration.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by David Alire Garcia; editing by Darren Schuettler

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