Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Mexican Foreign Secretary Alicia Bárcena before Their Meeting

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January 19, 2024

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon.  It is wonderful to welcome Foreign Secretary Bárcena, my friend Alicia, here.  All of the Mexican delegation – Rosa, all of you – thank you for being here.  I have to say we’re really grateful to have such a close partner in Mexico, and that’s borne out every single day in the work we’re doing together in so many different areas.

This particular meeting follows a very productive session in Mexico just after Christmas on December 27th, and I think we’ve made great progress just in the space of the three weeks since that meeting, and we look forward to reviewing that today as well as looking at additional steps that we can take together to advance the goal that we both share of reducing the unprecedented irregular migration surge.

Also since our last meeting, I think a very significant development in President Arévalo being inaugurated in Guatemala.  This opens an important new area for cooperation on migration between our three countries, and we will continue to work together more broadly to develop regional solutions to the historic challenge that we face.

But in all of this, our partnership, our work together, could not be more valuable, more important, and we deeply appreciate it.  So, Alicia, welcome and over to you.

FOREIGN SECRETARY BÁRCENA: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon to all of you.  First of all, I just want to thank Secretary Blinken, his generosity of receiving us today here at the Department of State.  It’s always a pleasure to be with Antony Blinken.  Thank you so much.  And here I am – I have – I am very well accompanied here with the Secretary of Defense General Sandoval, Secretaria Rodríguez, of our Admiral Raphael Ojeda, Arturo Medina that comes in representation of the Ministry of Governance, and of course, el Embajador Moctezuma, and of course, all our friends that are here with me.

Obviously, it is a very important meeting – very, very important meeting – because it’s a follow-up meeting to the one that we had on December 27th.  It’s a meeting where we were able to confirm once again the cordial relationship between our countries.  And this is not only regarding human mobility, which is the issue that we will address today, but other issues – security, economy, trade.

We have a very, very dynamic relationship, and I think that what we were able is to establish mechanisms between the two of us.  And there is a U.S. poem – poet, Robert Frost – “The Road Not Taken.”  That’s the book that he wrote, right?  And I think that we are here because the U.S. and Mexico have, como dice Robert Frost, we have two ways and we have to choose one – two roads.  And I think that we are choosing together the one that we have not really walked together too much, which is the first trade partner of the U.S.  We have a very dynamic situation in social, and we have $863 billion a year, and this is $2 million a minute.  Imagine.  This is very important.

So we have a great agreement.  We have 3,000 miles that join us, and of course, Alejandro Mayorkas knows this very well.  But we bring a message from Manuel López Obrador.  First, his best regards because we, as Mexico, we have the intent to help to support in this big battle that we are facing, which is the high human mobility.  And this is not something that we see in our region; the whole world faces something like this.

So this is why we want to take that road, the road less traveled.  But this is going to make a difference for us, for our people.  And especially for both countries, where what happened last year, we received 33 million U.S. citizens as tourists in Mexico, so that really shows the relationship between two countries and millions of Mexicans that live in – here in the U.S. and that contribute.  Because truth be told, Mexicans are contributing to the economy, and I think that that’s the base.  And this is – we are here, we are ready, ready to address the root causes of migration, the factors that generate irregular migration, and above all, how can we work together to face this issue to benefit our people, of course, but also, undoubtedly, that this will benefit other countries in the region, because this is something, as I said, that doesn’t affect just U.S. and Mexico.

Thank you, Secretary Blinken.  We have the mechanism, the bicentennial dialogue, and we are going to carry out a meeting in Mexico.  So of course, the issue of weapons, which is something that concerns us very much, but I think that what we have is a bilateral relationship which is strong through assistance, deep, and very affectionate.  And I think that this is what we have to keep on working on to benefit our people.  We are very happy to be here today, in this very cold day I would say – wonderful, beautiful, and it is a pleasure for us to be here in the U.S.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Here’s to the road taken together.

FOREIGN SECRETARY BÁRCENA:  Absolutely.  Exactly.  Robert Frost.  Cheers to you.  Salud.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much.


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