MEXICO CITY (AP) — New U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau arrived in Mexico City on Friday to take up one of Washington’s most important diplomatic posts, which had been vacant for over a year, amid a tricky time for relations between the North American neighbors.
Landau replaces Roberta Jacobson, the first woman to be the United States’ envoy to Mexico, who resigned and retired in May 2018.
“I arrive with my hand extended. The United States wins when there is a prosperous and stable Mexico, and Mexico wins when there is a prosperous and stable United States,” Landau said in brief remarks to journalists upon arriving at Mexico City’s airport in the morning. He did not take questions.
The North American neighbors are key commercial partners but Landau’s arrival comes after months of tensions over immigration and trade.
Mexico has cracked down a wave of mostly Central American migrants and asylum seekers moving through its territory after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to slap tariffs on imports from Mexico. The number of migrants encountered by U.S. authorities in July dropped below 100,000 for the first time in five months, according to U.S. government data released last week.
A September deadline looms when the two countries are to evaluate progress on the issue.
The governments are also hoping for ratification of a trade deal with Canada that replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Obviously there are challenges in the bilateral relationship, but they are the challenges … of any relationship that is so close,” Landau said.
“Our countries are partners, neighbors and friends,” he added. “It is that way today, and always will be.”
Landau is a Harvard-educated lawyer who has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court and who clerked for Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in the early 1990s, according to a bio provided by the U.S. Embassy. He is married and has two children.