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Mexican president to skip U.S.-hosted summit, floats Washington meeting with Biden


– Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Thursday said he has decided against attending an international summit in San Francisco in November where he was due to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden, and floated the idea that the two leaders instead get together in Washington that month.

Lopez Obrador said he pitched the Washington meeting because he no longer planned to be at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco due to his differences with the current government in Peru, the APEC forum’s next chair.

“I’m not going to attend the San Francisco one because we don’t have relations with Peru,” Lopez Obrador said, speaking at a regular government press conference.

Just last month Lopez Obrador said he intended to be at the APEC event and would hold talks with Biden there. The U.S. will be the chair of the summit in San Francisco. Mexico and the United States are among the 21 members of APEC.

Mexico’s relations with Peru began breaking down in December, when the Peruvian government ordered Mexico’s ambassador to Lima to leave following Lopez Obrador’s comments condemning the ouster of former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, a fellow leftist.

If he does not see Biden in November, Lopez Obrador said another possibility would be to meet in January during a North American leaders’ summit to be hosted by Canada.

No official announcement has yet been made about the timing of the next North American summit.

Last year Lopez Obrador snubbed a U.S. invitation to an Americas summit in Los Angeles because of Washington’s exclusion of the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Mexico had “raised the possibility” that Lopez Obrador would cancel his trip to San Francisco. “We’ll have to talk to them,” he said, declining to comment further.

Lopez Obrador said he would discuss migration, drug trafficking, violence and trade with Biden.

The president said he had also invited Biden to come to Mexico to see various energy and infrastructure projects under construction – including the multi-billion-dollar flagship Tren Maya railway line – in the Gulf of Mexico and southern Mexico.

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