U.S., Central Americans agree on joint police operations in region

 U.S., Central Americans agree on joint police operations in region

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - The United States said on Wednesday it had reached an agreement with three Central American countries to carry out joint police operations in the region, as the Trump administration seeks to stem the flow of migrants across its southern border.

The governments of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and the United States said in a statement they had agreed to a series of measures, including joint police work, improved border security, and efforts to deter international crime and curb "irregular migration."

Over the past year, a series of migrant caravans from the region have travelled to the United States' southern frontier to seek asylum, drawing the ire of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made border security a priority of his government.

The announcement on police cooperation followed meetings in Honduras on Wednesday between Central American officials and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

"I'm pleased to announce the U.S. & our Northern Triangle allies have reached a HISTORIC agreement to confront the root causes of the crisis on our border," Nielsen said on Twitter.

The bulk of migrants caught trying to enter the United States illegally are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The three Central American countries, among the poorest and most violent countries in the Americas, have given rise to large migrant communities in the United States.

The statement did not provide details on how the countries would collaborate on police matters. However, a Honduran official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the operations would include the United States.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez praised the accord.

"A peaceful and prosperous Honduras and Central America is the best investment for the U.S. and Central American people," he tweeted.

(Reporting by Orfa Mejia; writing by Julia Love; editing by Dave Graham and G Crosse)

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Updated Date: Mar 28, 2019 05:06:43 IST