By Carlos Arrazola.


Guatemala and Mexico plan to focus on relations beyond the areas of security and migration, the issues that have dominated the bilateral agenda in recent years, setting development goals jointly once Enrique Peña Nieto becomes the Mexican head of state in December, the Mexican president-elect and Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said.

Peña Nieto and Perez Molina met on Monday in Guatemala City, the first stop on the Mexican president-elect's tour of Latin America.

Peña Nieto belongs to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which governed Mexico for seven decades and has been out of power since 2000.

"My goal with the administration I will head starting on Dec. 1 is to have a closer and more solid relationship with the people of Guatemala," Peña Nieto said during a joint press conference with Perez Molina at the National Palace of Culture.

Peña Nieto said the new issues on the bilateral agenda would be determined by the governments of Mexico and Guatemala, which share a 957-kilometer (595-mile) border.

Peña Nieto traveled to the Central American country with a large delegation and security was tight along the route taken by his motorcade from the military airport where he arrived to downtown Guatemala City.

The Mexican president-elect's visit demonstrated his "commitment and decision to not only pay attention to relations with Guatemala and Central America, but to improve them," Perez Molina said.

"I believe that Guatemala and Mexico have a relationship with a broad agenda, with many issues," Perez Molina said.

Peña Nieto's visit to Guatemala was the first stop on a tour that will take him to Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Peru over the next week.

The Mexican president-elect left for Bogota, the second stop on his tour, following the press conference in Guatemala City. EFE