WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei spoke by phone on Tuesday and agreed to work together to address the root causes of migration to the United States, the White House said in a statement.
“They agreed to explore innovative opportunities to create jobs and to improve the conditions for all people in Guatemala and the region, including by promoting transparency and combating crime,” the statement said.
President Joe Biden has named Harris to lead U.S. efforts with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to try to stem the flow of migration, which has climbed sharply in recent weeks.
Harris thanked Giammattei for his efforts to secure Guatemala’s southern border, the White House said.
Several hundred Hondurans set off on Tuesday for the Guatemalan border, seeking to reach the United States, according to local media and a Reuters witness.
The group was the second large caravan to set out from Honduras this year, following catastrophic flooding in November from two hurricanes that battered an already struggling economy.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)