15:46 GMT16 April 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has appointed career diplomat Ricardo Zuniga to serve as Special Envoy for the so-called "Northern Triangle" countries in Central America, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price announced on Monday.

    "The Department of State is pleased to announce that Ricardo Zuniga, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, will serve as its Special Envoy for the Northern Triangle," Price said in a statement.

    Price explained that Zuniga will lead the United States’ diplomatic efforts, advise the Secretary of State and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and coordinate with the National Security Council on the administration’s efforts to stop irregular migration to the United States.

    "The Special Envoy will engage with regional governments, including but not limited to Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, on a range of issues in order to seek to improve conditions in Central America," he said. "He also will hold our partners accountable for their commitments to address root causes of migration and the increase in arrivals of unaccompanied children at the U.S. southern border. Additionally, the Special Envoy will engage stakeholders in civil society and the private sector as we work toward building better futures in these countries."

    Price also said that Zuniga, who will accompany White House senior officials to Mexico and Guatemala this week, will keep Congress apprised of the Biden administration efforts.

    An influx of migration from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala is expected to continue for the foreseeable future and humanitarian groups must be prepared to deal with the situation, Deputy High Commissioner for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Kelly Clements said earlier in March.

    President Joe Biden denied reports that there is an immigration crisis on the US-Mexico border, adding that his administration will be able to handle the influx of migrants arriving at the southern border.

    The latest data from US Customs and Border Protection shows that the number of apprehensions of illegal migrants at the southern border has increased since April 2020, reaching more than 70,000 each month between October and January.

    Central America, triangle, diplomat, US
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