Pompeo's Latin America tour begins with Argentina

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

ANKARA (AA) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a start to his four-day tour of Latin America on Thursday, with Argentina being the first destination.

Pompeo will attend a regional counter-terrorism conference to mark the anniversary of Argentina’s worst terrorist attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994, according to the American Foreign Policy magazine.

He is scheduled to meet with Argentina's President Mauricio Macri on Friday.

It is expected that the migration issue could dominate the meetings in Ecuador, El Salvador and Mexico.

Ecuador hosts migrants fleeing Venezuela's political and economic crisis, while El Salvador and Mexico are where thousands begin their journey for the U.S. asylum.

Pompeo will meet his Mexican counterpart Marcelo Luis Ebrard Casaubon on Sunday, at the end of the 45-day period set by the U.S. for Mexico to reduce migration flows at the border.

Pompeo could offer a "safe third country" agreement, which was refused by Guatemala earlier, with Mexico during his visit, according to Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.

Meanwhile, scores of migrants from Central American countries are grappling with the U.S. anti-migrant policy at the border.

U.S. President Donald Trump has pursued a hardline approach to immigration, both legal and illegal, since coming to office and has particularly singled out Mexico for what he says is a lack of action to stem migrant flows, where people are fleeing destitute conditions, including rampant poverty and gang violence in the hopes of securing safety or asylum in the U.S.

In May, Trump announced the tariffs on imports of Mexican goods would begin to take effect on June 10 and would rise 5% at the start of each successive month until they hit 25% in October "if the crisis persists".

However, the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement in June to avoid Washington’s tariffs on Mexico to force the country to reduce the immigration flow.

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