Pompeo meets next Mexican president

Lesley Wroughton and Sharay Angulo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Mexico's next leader that President Donald Trump wants to strengthen and improve ties with Mexico after "bumps in the road,.

President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in turn, handed Pompeo a letter addressed to Trump with his plans to reset the relationship, focusing on trade, immigration, development and security.

Pompeo said the visit was intended to signal the "deep importance" Trump gives to what has been an increasingly strained bilateral relationship. It follows the Mexican leftist's landslide victory this month.

Trump has irked Mexico with demands that it pay for a border wall and his comments that it does nothing to slow illegal immigration. He has also pushed to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to favour the US.

Lopez Obrador will take office on December 1.

Senior officials including Jared Kushner, Trump's adviser and son-in-law, were in the delegation led by Pompeo, which earlier met outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray.

Since Trump's election, Videgaray in particular has sought to avoid the collapse of the trillion-dollar NAFTA trade deal, cultivating close contact with the White House through Kushner and supporting closer diplomatic and security ties.

Previous attempts by officials to pour oil on the waters of an increasingly turbulent bilateral relationship have been undone by intemperate tweets from the US president himself.

Lopez Obrador has said that he wants good relations with the United States. Despite ideological differences with Trump, the two men share nationalist and populist leanings.

But the president-elect's plans to shake up Mexico's war on drug cartels, including by reducing security cooperation with the United States, could put him on a collision course with Trump.

Speaking to the media after the meeting with Lopez Obrador, Pompeo said he had "respectfully reinforced" the importance of border security.

Lopez Obrador's plan includes pressing the US to reduce the flow of migration northwards by helping to create better living standards in Mexico and Central America, his team has said.