'Phenomenal right now': How the White House sees US-Mexico relations

Miranda GreerFeb 24, 2017

Speaking on the eve of the meeting, White House spokesman Sean Spicer described the United States relationship with Mexico as "phenomenal".

"I want to make clear, in the most emphatic way, that the government of Mexico and the people of Mexico will not accept decisions that, in a unilateral way, are imposed by another government", Videgaray told reporters in Mexico City.

The Mexican side plans to seek more information on Trump's executive orders at the summit, according to notes from a senior official that outlines Mexico's planned talking points at the meeting.

Trump is also recognizing that the position of US president is not "omnipotent", he reportedly said.

However Mr Kelly said there would be "no use of military force in immigration operations", and "no, repeat, no" mass deportations.

"DHS will continue to work with the Mexican government and the Department of State to determine how to best implement this guidance", the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

"Our concerns are about the rights of Mexicans living in the United States - the civil rights of Mexicans in the U.S.", said Luis Videgaray on Thursday after meeting with the two USA officials in Mexico City.

"We know that damage has been done to the bilateral relationship in the last few months", Cardin said.

Mexico's foreign minister has expressed "worry and irritation" about U.S. policies to two of President Donald Trump's top envoys sent to cool tempers after weeks of tension between the countries.

President Donald Trump dispatched his top diplomat and homeland security chief to Mexico on Wednesday on a fence-mending mission complicated by the actual fence he wants to build on the southern border.

"It will be a long road to construct agreements with the United States but today we have taken a step in the right direction", Videgaray said.

Mexicans must really be feeling the new United States president is out to get them.

Mexico relies on the United States as a trading partner, sending 80 per cent of its exports to its northern neighbour. To set them back on track, the countries' top diplomats avoided any mention of the combative U.S. president when they briefed reporters (link in Spanish) on their first meeting in Mexico today.

Tillerson told reporters that Mexico and the US need to "modernize and strengthen our trade and energy relationship", and Kelly emphasized the need for "safe and secure trade".

Three members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) - wrapped up Sunday a trip to meet with members of the Mexican cabinet, Senate, and civil society.

A trio of Democratic senators visited Mexico in advance of Tillerson and Kelly's trip.

"Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Kelly are going to have a great discussion down there and to walk through the implementation of the executive order", Spicer said.

Guajardo said he expected NAFTA negotiations with U.S. and Canada to conclude by the end of 2017. They spent the day in the Rio Grande Valley on U.S. Customs and Border Protection boats in a river that already serves as a geographical barrier between the neighboring countries.

In the reported remarks, Videgaray said Mexico was prepared to retaliate with new tariffs on us -made goods should the Trump administration follow up on its threats to slap an export tax of 20% or more of goods imported from Mexico to the United States.

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