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Lopez Obrador offers Trump ambitious plan to address migration issue

Mexico City, Dec 13 (epa-efe).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had a "friendly and respectful" telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump in which he said that the Mexican plan to solve the migratory phenomenon will cost $5 billion.

"The conversation was very good, friendly and respectful. And we talked about the migration issue and the possibility of reaching an investment agreement to support productive projects," said the leftist leader during his morning press conference on Thursday.

The Mexican leader said that this production plan, which is already contemplated in the 2019 budget, should create jobs in Central America and Mexico so that people do not have "the need to migrate."

"I mentioned (to Trump) that we have this $5 billion plan that is already contemplated in the budget, which is going to be delivered (to Congress) this Saturday," said the leader of the Morena party.

He said that he and Trump agreed "on good terms" to hold talks between themselves - as their countries' leaders - and also between their teams, the ultimate goal of which would be "to sign a joint investment agreement."

It would be "a joint investment agreement, which would include companies, and of course the governments," the president said.

On Thursday, Trump said on Twitter that Mexico will be the one to pay for building his much-promised border wall with the money that "we save" under the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, despite the fact that he has repeatedly asked the US Congress for funds to finance it.

"I often stated, 'One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.' This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!" Trump had tweeted.

When asked if they talked about the wall in their most recent telephone conversation, which was reported on Wednesday, Lopez Obrador said that "this issue has not been addressed in any conversation."

Since mid-October, thousands of Central Americans, especially from Honduras and El Salvador, have formed themselves into several migrant caravans with the aim of reaching the southern US border hoping to apply for US asylum.

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