Mexican president cancels meeting with Trump over wall row

Washington, DC, United StatesUpdated: Jan 26, 2017, 05:46 PM IST
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President Trump wants Mexico to pay for the wall on the US-Mexico border. Photograph:(Reuters)

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday called off a meeting with Donald Trump, hours after the US president challenged him to cancel his visit if Mexico was not willing to pay for the wall on the countries' border.

"We informed the White House this morning that I will not attend the working meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with Trump in Washington," the Mexican leader said on Twitter. "Mexico reiterates its willingness to work with the United States to reach agreements in both nations' interests,' he added on Twitter.

On Wednesday, Trump signed an order to build a border wall to keep out illegal migrants whom he blames for crime -- a controversial key pledge of his election campaign.

"The US has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers... of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting," Trump had earlier said on Twitter.


Mexican finance minister Jose Antonio Meade had earlier said cancellation of the meeting would fuel uncertainty.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto had openly said in a televised address to the nation that he condemned the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall. He openly asserted: "I have said it time and again, Mexico will not pay for any wall". 

Experts say building the wall would be an expensive mistake. Trump says it would take $8 billion to build the wall, estimates suggest it would be more than double which would be paid for by the American tax payers if Trump is unable to get Mexico to pay for the wall.