Mexico says it will not pay for a border wall under its new trade agreement with the United States – or under any other circumstances – despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest claim to the contrary.
Trump irked Mexican officials on Tuesday by repeating his claim that Mexico will ultimately pay for his campaign promise to build a wall between the two countries.
Trump was responding to shouted questions from a reporter at the time. “It’ll ultimately be paid for by Mexico,” the president said.
Mexico’s foreign minister, Luis Videgaray Caso, rejected Trump’s claim on Twitter later in the day.
“We will NEVER pay for a wall,” Videgaray Caso wrote, in English and in Spanish. “That has been absolutely clear from the very beginning.”
Videgaray Caso also praised the trade understanding between the two countries, saying that the outlook for their relationship is “very positive.”
Videgaray Caso later retweeted a message from Arturo Sarukhan, the former Mexican ambassador to the U.S.
“Mexico and the U.S. have done – and can do – great things together,” Sarukhan wrote. “The one thing that we will not be doing together, is building a wall.”
Trump has repeatedly boasted that Mexico will pay for his promised border wall. Mexican officials have never committed to doing so, and have occasionally refuted Trump’s claims on Twitter, his preferred social media platform.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto previously shot down Trump’s claims with a tweet in May.
“No, Mexico will NEVER pay for a wall. Not now, not ever,” he wrote in a tweet addressed to Trump.
Trump announced the agreement in a conference call with Pena Nieto, who is nearing the end of his term. President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will take office on Dec. 1.
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Obrador has said he wants to work with Trump on illegal immigration, but he has no intention of paying for a border wall with the U.S. Instead, he wants to improve job prospects and wages so people will stay in Mexico.
“Our dream, which we’ll achieve regardless of whether Trump accepts it or not, is that the Mexican can work and be happy where he was born,” Obrador said on the campaign trail in June.
The Trump administration is seeking US$25 billion from Congress to build the wall.
— With files from Reuters