U.S. envoy fails in bid for meeting with El Salvador president

SAN SALVADOR, April 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. special envoy to Central America said on Thursday he unsuccessfully sought a meeting with El Salvador's president, Nayib Bukele, during a trip this week to discuss efforts to contain a jump in migrant detentions at the U.S border.

Ricardo Zuniga, who met Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei during his visit to the region, said his delegation had asked for a meeting with Bukele, but that it was never confirmed.

Zuniga is envoy to the so-called Northern Triangle of Central America - Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - three countries that are home to a large portion of the migrants trying to enter the United States unlawfully.

"Yes, we did ask for an appointment with the president, as with other players. We didn't get it, it wasn't set," he told reporters in San Salvador before returning to the United States.

The increase in migrants at the border has created a headache for U.S. President Joe Biden.

Bukele's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why the meeting had not come about.

The failure to arrange the encounter followed a trip by Bukele to Washington in February where he did not meet any U.S. officials. That raised comments from some foreign policy analysts.

Bukele, who said he went in a private capacity and had not requested any meetings with officials, has been critical of the U.S. approach to tackling migration problems.

The number of migrants from El Salvador has recently been markedly lower than from the other two countries, and Mexico.

Zuniga, who reported having an "excellent" meeting with Salvadoran Foreign Minister Alexandra Hill this week, said it was normal that not all plans come to fruition with trips planned at short notice.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Editing by Peter Cooney)

04/08/2021 21:08

News, Photo and Web Search