Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Trump reveals more of Mexico deal

SECRET ANNEX?Mexico’s top diplomat denied that there is a secret part of the deal that would require more of Mexico, saying that it would not fail to meet its promises

AFP, WASHINGTON

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that Mexico agreed to take stronger legal action to halt Central American migrants if its initial efforts to stem the flow do not show results in 45 days.

In bright sunshine outside the White House, Trump waved what he said was the text of an agreement Mexican and US officials signed on Friday last week to avert the application of tariffs on Mexican exports to the US.

Photographs of the document revealed that Mexico appeared to pledge to enact or enforce certain domestic laws if Washington is not satisfied with the results of its first promised efforts — deploying 6,000 Mexican National Guards to reinforce its southern border and expanding its policy of taking back asylum seekers as the US processes their claims.

If, after 45 days, the US government “determines at its discretion” that the results are not enough, “the government of Mexico will take all necessary steps under domestic law to bring the agreement into force,” the document says.

The document gives the Mexican government another 45 days to achieve that.

It was not clear what specific measures the Mexican government would have to take.

Washington last week said that it wanted Mexico to agree to a “safe third country” policy, in which migrants entering Mexican territory must apply for asylum there rather than in the US.

Trump waved the ostensible agreement in front of reporters amid questions about whether his administration really did reach a substantial agreement last week to stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants who pass through Mexico to enter the US.

The initial deal appeared to repeat previous undertakings the Mexicans have made.

However, Trump has repeatedly suggested that there is another secret part of the deal that would require more of Mexico.

“Mexico is doing a great job at the border, really helping us,” he said on Tuesday. “They have been working very hard. We’re doing very well together. Good relationship.”

Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard, who led Mexico’s negotiating team in Washington, repeated his denial that there is a secret annex to the deal.

“You’re not going to see it anywhere. Absolutely everything is right here. Everything. There’s nothing that’s not in this report,” he told a news conference in Mexico City, holding up a nine-page briefing he is to deliver to the Mexican Senate.

That document says the countries discussed a “possible deal” to process asylum seekers in whichever country they arrive in first.

If Washington deems the results of the initial measures insufficient after 45 days, Mexico City has another 45 days to implement the agreement.

Ebrard evaded reporters’ questions on what exactly that additional deal would look like.

“Mexico is not going to fail. Mexico is open to negotiations if we fail, but we’re not going to fail,” he said.

Pressed on what Mexico would do if Trump deems otherwise, he said: “I’m not going to reveal Mexico’s strategy... That wouldn’t be prudent.”

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