Donald Trump, Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto de-escalate over phone

January 28, 2017 6:57 pm

President (R) shaking hands with his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto. (File photo)

After plunging US-Mexico ties to a new low by announcing his aggressive anti-immigration plans, US President Donald Trump has talked to his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto over the phone to ratchet down the tension.
Merely days after being inaugurated, Trump drew heavy criticism from Mexico by authorizing the construction of a giant wall to curb illegal immigration from the southern neighbor. Trump also promised that Mexico would pay for the project.
Pena Nieto said the conversation was “constructive,” and both sides said they were determined to “resolve their differences,” according to a statement by the Mexican government.
“The presidents also agreed for now not to talk publicly about this controversial issue,” the statement added.
Trump has further angered Mexico expressing his willingness to start renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as soon as he meets with Mexican and Canadian leaders.
He was slated to host Pena Nieto in Washington on Thursday, but the Mexican head of state said he was cancelling the trip due to the ongoing row.

Boys play around, climbing the border division between Mexico and the US in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, January 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Trump said in a Twitter message earlier on Thursday that Peña Nieto should cancel his planned visit to the White House if Mexico refuses to pay for the wall that he has ordered to be constructed along the border.
Peña Nieto was facing increasing domestic criticism for failing to come up with a decisive strategy to combat Trump’s hostile policies, and was under sustained pressure to cancel the meeting.
During his campaign, Trump characterized Mexican migrants living in the US as murderers and rapists and pledged to build a wall that he said Mexico would pay for.
Pena Nieto made it clear during a meeting with Trump in September last year that his country would not pay for the project.
Earlier this month, however, Trump joined other Republicans, saying US taxpayers may foot the initial bill for the proposed wall, insisting that Mexico would repay the US the money in the end.
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