Fri, Jan 27, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Mexican leader mulls canceling Trump meeting

AFP, MEXICO CITY

A handout photograph made available by the presidency shows Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during a TV broadcast in Mexico City on Wednesday.

Photo: EPA

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday weighed whether to cancel a meeting with US President Donald Trump next week as he condemned Trump’s decision to build a border wall.

Lawmakers are pressuring Pena Nieto to scrap Tuesday’s talks in Washington after Trump made good on his campaign pledge to quickly order the construction of the barrier.

“I regret and condemn the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall that, for years, has divided us instead of uniting us,” Pena Nieto said in a nationally televised message.

“I have said it time and again: Mexico will not pay for any wall,” he said, referring to Trump’s vow to make the southern neighbor pay for the barrier. “Mexico gives and demands respect as the completely sovereign nation that we are.”

Pena Nieto said he would wait for a report from a high-level Mexican delegation holding meetings in the US capital this week, then consult with governors and lawmakers before deciding on “the next steps to take.”

Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray, who was in Washington, told Televisa that Pena Nieto would mull whether to travel to Washington, but that “the meeting stands for now.”

The last time Pena Nieto met Trump things did not go well for the Mexican leader.

Pena Nieto came under massive criticism at home for hosting the Republican billionaire during the US presidential election campaign in August last year, even though Trump had called Mexican migrants “rapists” and drug-runners.

Videgaray resigned his post as finance minister at the time after it emerged that he had orchestrated the trip, but he was named chief diplomat after Trump was elected.

Now, Pena Nieto is under pressure to avoid meeting Trump again, with Mexican Senator Miguel Barbosa, of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, saying Pena Nieto should not let Trump “impose his conditions” in negotiations.

Barbosa described the wall and measures against “sanctuary” US cities that protect migrants from deportation as “acts of aggression against Mexico, against Latin America, against the world, against freedom.”

Margarita Zavala of the conservative National Action Party, wrote on Twitter that Trump’s announcement was “an affront to Mexico” and that Pena Nieto must reconsider his trip.

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