US officials met with Mexican officials to affirm positive relations, but success was limited. The US Homeland Security chief said immigration operations would not use “military force,” contradicting the president.
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Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray on Thursday said it was a “complex time” for US-Mexico relations after meeting with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson and homeland security chief John Kelly.
“There exists among Mexicans worry and irritation about what are perceived to be policies that could be harmful for the national interest and for Mexicans here and abroad,” said Videgaray.
US President Donald Trump has sparked controversy for his policy by saying he will make Mexico pay for a border wall and that he will deport third-country nationals to the US’ southern neighbor.
Tillerson attempted to bridge the widening gap between both nations during his visiting to Mexico City, saying they are united by a “joint commitment to maintain law and order.”
“We underscored the importance of stopping the illegal firearms and bulk cash that is originating in the United States and flowing into Mexico,” Tillerson said. “There’s no mistaking that the rule of law matters along both sides of the border.”
Trump appeared indifferent towards the disputes between Washington and Mexico City, which have flared following the president executive order on the “immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border.”
“We’re going to have a good relationship with Mexico, but if we don’t, we don’t,” Trump said on Thursday ahead of the high-profile meeting in the Mexican capital.
Trump also described a sweeping campaign of deportation across the US as a “military operation.”
However, Kelly appeared to undermine Trump’s remarks, telling a press conference that “there will be no use of military force for immigration operations.”
“There will be no, repeat, no mass deportations,” Kelly said after meeting with his Mexican counterparts.
US officials said the trip aimed to affirm positive relations with the country’s southern neighbor after Trump’s remarks, which have prompted protests across Mexico decrying the new administration in Washington.
ls/rc (Reuters, dpa, AFP)