Mexico and U.S. vow to expand cooperation to address immigration in high-level talks

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Vehicles wait in line to cross the Cordova Bridge of the Americas (El Paso CBOA) towards El Paso, Texas, U.S., as Mexico's Department of Foreign Relations requested another month-long extension on land-crossing restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

MEXICO CITY, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Top Mexican and U.S. officials discussed increasing bilateral cooperation to address immigration during a meeting in Mexico City, the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday evening.

Mexican Foreign Ninister Marcelo Ebrard met in Mexico City with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and the National Security Council's senior director for the Western Hemisphere, Juan Gonzalez.

"The delegations agreed to expand cooperation in order to manage orderly, safe and regular migration flows with respect for the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers," the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement following the meeting.

After the gathering, Ebrard said on Twitter that Mexico's relationship with the United States was "going very well" and that the meeting had been "productive."

At a news conference earlier in the day, Ebrard said the talks would encompass efforts to reopen the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as measures being put forward by the United States aimed at containing immigration from Central America.

The talks came after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador spoke to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday, discussing migration, the fight against COVID-19 and the need to strengthen Central American economies. read more

During their call, the United States agreed to send Mexico 3.5 million doses of drugmaker Moderna Inc's (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine and up to 5 million doses of the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) vaccine, Ebrard said, noting that the vaccines would likely arrive in August.

Ebrard added that he did not expect the U.S.-Mexico land border to reopen by Aug. 21, and that more time would be needed to resume transit for so-called nonessential trips, including for those who cross the border to work or attend school.

Speaking at the news conference, Lopez Obrador said that Harris agreed with him on the need to reopen their shared land border, but did not provide a specific timetable.

Ebrard said Lopez Obrador and Harris had also discussed plans to revive, in early September, a forum for bilateral talks known as the high-level economic dialogue, which is aimed at improving economic integration and boosting growth.

When asked what such discussions could encompass, Ebrard noted that North America was gearing up for technological changes, such as the transition to electric cars, underlining the importance of companies like Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) in the industry.

"Obviously we're interested in being a part of that," he said.

Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Raul Cortes Fernandez in Mexico City Editing by Dave Graham, Matthew Lewis and Michael Perry

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