Guatemalan President-Elect Says Country Can’t Uphold Migration Deal With U.S.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Alejandro Giammattei on Tuesday, two days after the conservative, pro-Israel politician was elected as Guatemala's president, defeating former first lady Sandra Torres in a runoff.

This would make Honduran and El Salvadoran migrants apply for asylum in Guatemala instead of the U.S. Giammattei said the U.S. may be forced to change the deal because of a lawsuit against a different Safe Third Country agreement. Large numbers of Guatemalan migrants have appeared at the US border to seek asylum.

"I hope that during this transition the doors will open to get more information so we can see what, from a diplomatic point of view, we can do to remove from this deal the things that are not right for us, or how we can come to an agreement with the USA", Mr Giammattei (63) said in the interview.

Outgoing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales inked a so-called safe third country agreement with the Trump administration in July, despite Guatemala's highest court blocking Morales from signing the pact without the consent of lawmakers.

Speaking to the Spanish-language bulletin of the US-based Israel Allies Foundation, he said close bilateral relations with Israel would be a top foreign policy priority of his, adding that he would keep the country's embassy in Jerusalem and take action against Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, which operates extensively throughout Latin America.

The agreement is also highly unpopular in Guatemala.

"It implies that, in accordance with Guatemala's Constitution, that it be done with the Congress of the Republic - I think it's a long road, we'll have to see what happens in the United States with the federal judge's decision", he stated.

Three million Guatemalans live and work in the United States, which is also the country's main trading partner.

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