Ambassadors to the United States from dozens of African, Asian and Eastern European nations toured the U.S.-Mexico border south of San Diego Monday under the invitation of the U.S. State Department.
The tour was guided by Customs and Border Protection and showed ambassadors spans of primary and secondary border fencing between the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry.
Javlon Vakhabov, Uzbekistan's ambassador to the U.S., was surprised by the size of the walls in the region but was very familiar with the threats they're designed to defend.
“It’s the first time I’m witnessing these tall borders, tall walls," Vakhabov said. He says his country deals with many of the same threats the U.S. does at its southern border, but Uzbekistan shares boundaries with five nations.
"Smuggling of narcotics, illicit trafficking of persons, illegal delivery of weapons, so all those issues are challenging even in the region of central Asia," Vakhabov said.
Approximately 20 foreign ambassadors to the United States of America took part in the tour. They are from various countries including Albania, Belarus, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Kenya, Lithuania and Uzbekistan.
The tour will continue Tuesday when ambassadors are expected to visit a Navy warship and a global communications company.