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Top US officials to go to Mexico for talks on trade, immigration

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will meet this week in Mexico with President Enrique Pena Nieto, the State Department announced Tuesday, amid tensions over trade and immigration.

world Updated: Feb 21, 2017 23:03 IST
People walk to the United States at El Paso del Norte International Bridge on the US/Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez, on February 20, 2017, in northwestern Mexico.
People walk to the United States at El Paso del Norte International Bridge on the US/Mexico border in Ciudad Juarez, on February 20, 2017, in northwestern Mexico. (AFP Photo)

US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will meet this week in Mexico with President Enrique Pena Nieto, the State Department announced Tuesday, amid tensions over trade and immigration.

In brief statement, the State Department said they will discuss “border security, law enforcement cooperation, and trade, among other issues” during talks Wednesday and Thursday.

Besides Pena Nieto, the two American secretaries will meet with Mexico’s ministers of the interior, foreign affairs, finance, defense and the navy, the State Department said.

Mexico, which announced the visit last week, said it was aimed at building “a respectful, close and constructive relationship between the two countries.”

Relations between the neighbours have been rocked by President Donald Trump’s vow to build a huge border wall, his disparagement of Mexican immigrants during the US presidential campaign and attacks on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Pena Nieto cancelled a White House meeting with Trump last month after the president tweeted it would be better not to have it if Mexico refused to pay for the border wall.

Trump has also vowed to renegotiate or scrap NAFTA, arguing that it was a bad deal that has led to the loss of manufacturing jobs to Mexico.

The trip to Mexico would be Tillerson’s second foreign foray since taking office in early February. He traveled last week to Europe to meet with foreign ministers at the G20 gathering in Bonn.