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Photograph: EPA/JASON SZENES

Barriers cannot stop the movement of migrants and the fusion of cultures, said Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the United Nations on Monday.

Addressing world leaders during the first-ever high-level UN summit on migration, Pena Nieto said that migration reflected people's "instinct for survival, vital energy, their ardent desire to excel" and it had enriched societies over history.

"Neither natural, not artificial barriers hold sway - for every river, there has always been a bridge; for every obstacle, there has always been a way forward," Pena Nieto told world leaders.

The Mexican president said he was proud of his country's diverse society, noting the Mexico was a country of origin, destination, transit and return.

Pena Nieto said Mexico would actively engage in the creation of a global framework to govern orderly and safe migration worldwide. The target date for the adoption of such a document is 2018.

"Mexico will continue working to have migrants recognized as agents of change and development, to ensure their human rights are respected and to do away with statements of hate and discrimination against migrants," he said.

The comments come after a heated presidential race in the US, home to millions of Mexican migrants, during which Republican US president nominee Donald Trump promised that he would a build a wall between the US and Mexico if he is elected US president.

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