Mexico’s leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday, over a month after the Democrat won the US election.
Lopez Obrador, who has nurtured a cordial relationship with incumbent US President Donald Trump, was one of the last remaining high-profile leaders yet to congratulate Biden on his victory, which was confirmed on Monday by the US Electoral College.
Earlier in the day, Russia’s Vladimir Putin also congratulated Biden, although Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, a staunch Trump ally, has yet to do so.
“I express my appreciation for his stance on Mexican migrants around the world, which will … promote the development of communities in southeastern Mexico and Central America,” said Lopez Obrador.
“We rulers must work to maintain good bilateral relations based on collaboration, friendship and respect for each other’s sovereignty.”
The Mexican leader said he was looking forward to speaking with Biden, especially about migration.
The two countries share a 3,200-kilometre-long border which is crossed illegally by drug-traffickers heading north and arms dealers moving the other way, as well as by many legal migrants from Mexico and Central America seeking a better life or fleeing violence and poverty.
The neighbours are also part of a trilateral trade deal with Canada that was renegotiated under Trump.
Analysts expect Biden to closely monitor Mexico’s labour and energy commitments related to the trade deal.
Lopez Obrador had faced much criticism for his delay in congratulating Biden while Trump and his campaign team touted unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud.
The Mexican leader, a left-wing populist, twice alleged he was the victim of voter fraud when losing the 2006 and 2012 presidential races.
He has insisted his delay was out of a desire to “act prudently” and wait for “all legal issues” to be resolved in the US.