Guatemala court asked to block 'safe 3rd country' with US

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Three former Guatemalan foreign ministers are asking the country's courts to bar President Jimmy Morales from striking a possible "safe third country" agreement with the United States, days ahead of a planned visit to Washington.

Such an arrangement would require asylum seekers to apply for refuge in the first "safe" country they arrive in. That means Hondurans, Salvadorans and others who pass through Guatemala would not be able to go directly to the U.S. border and ask for asylum.

Critics note Guatemala shares similar conditions of poverty and violence that are driving people to flee the other two countries of Central America's Northern Triangle.

Wednesday's court filing was made public Thursday. Presidential spokesman Alfredo Brito said Morales' visit is not for the purpose of signing a "safe third country" deal.