MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump informed him he won't be coming to his Dec. 1 inauguration and will be sending Vice President Mike Pence instead.
During a telephone conversation, Lopez Obrador talked to Trump about plans for development projects in Central America and Mexico aimed at reducing the need for people to emigrate north. Lopez Obrador said Trump "reacted positively" to the discussion.
"It was a very good call," Lopez Obrador said. "We have achieved a good understanding."
Lopez Obrador said he proposed the U.S., Canada and Mexico join forces to generate jobs and economic development "so that Mexicans and Central Americans can find work where they were born, where their families, cultures and customs are ... so that migration is a choice, not a necessity. "
"That can be done if there are jobs and development," Lopez Obrador said, suggesting Mexico would like the U.S. to invest in part of his administration's proposed $1.6 billion regional development plan. The plan includes planting fruit trees, fixing oil refineries and building a train connecting the Calakmul ruin site and Mexico's Caribbean coast resorts.
Lopez Obrador said he will send a delegation to the United States to present the development plans. While they discussed the new USMCA trade agreement with Trump, he said the development plans were "the most interesting part of the conversation."
Mexico's incoming president said he wants the U.S. to join an "alliance for progress" like President John F. Kennedy's Latin America program launched in 1961.
Trump tweeted earlier Wednesday that he'd spoken to Lopez Obrador. In his words, it was a "Great call, we will work well together!"
Neither said whether they discussed Trump's proposed border wall, an issue that vexed relations with outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto.