MEXICO CITY — The United States government has invited Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his delegation to Washington on July 8-9, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard confirmed on Tuesday.

“I can confirm that we have received an invitation from the United States government for an official work visit on July 8 and 9,” Ebrard said on Twitter, adding that more details would be released on Wednesday, when the new North American trade deal was due to enter into force.

The visit will be the leftist president’s first trip abroad since he took office one-and-a-half years ago.

Last week Lopez Obrador said he was planning to meet his US counterpart, Donald Trump, to mark the launch of the new US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA).

Earlier that week, Trump called his Mexican counterpart “a good guy” and said he would come to the White House “pretty soon.”

Lopez Obrador rejected criticism that his visit could be seen as a sign of support for Trump in the US elections in November.

Trump put Mexico under pressure over illegal migration a year ago, forcing the country to deploy soldiers to stop migrants under the threat of having tariffs imposed on its exports to the US.

Under Lopez Obrador’s predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, relations were strained over US plans to build a border wall against migration and its insistence on cancelling NAFTA, the predecessor of USMCA.

Lopez Obrador has attempted to stay on good terms with Mexico’s northern neighbour. “It is a friendly relationship and an indispensable economic and trade relationship,” he said last Thursday.

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