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Trump, with Peña Nieto, 'absolutely' wants Mexico to fund border wall
08 July 2017, 12:29 | Katrina Lee
Friday's meeting was the first face-to-face the two have had in nearly a year
The president, referring to Peña Nieto as a "friend", said that it's been a "very interesting" day at the G-20 Summit and signaled that the USA and Mexico are making progress in re-negotiating NAFTA. The leaders also discussed regional challenges, including drug trafficking, illegal migration, and the crisis in Venezuela.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgary, who attended the meeting, told reporters trade had formed a major part of the conversation with Trump and he was optimistic about the upcoming NAFTA talks, expected to begin in August.
The Trump administration formally told Congress in May that it intends to renegotiate NAFTA with Canada and Mexico.
"We've all had a very successful day and a very interesting day", Trump said before being asked about the border wall. Either it could be used as a stick to push Mexico into a more United States of America -friendly trade position, or a carrot that's offered in exchange for concessions in other areas - think something along the lines of "I'll shut up about making you pay for the wall if you sign this deal". "The president also agreed for now to not talk publicly about this controversial issue", the statement read, according to Reuters.
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Trump and Pena Nieto were set to discuss the wall in January, but Pena Nieto called the meeting off after Trump tweeted it would be "better to cancel" the meeting if Mexico had no intention of paying for the wall.
In fact, Mr Videgaray added, Mr Peña Nieto didn't even hear the President's photo-op comment.
Trump looked to downplay the appearance of tension in their brief encounter on Friday, calling Pena Nieto a "friend".
Since his election, every once in a while, Trump still makes perfunctory remarks about building the wall, but he has bigger fish to fry, namely trying to get his execrable health plan passed and dealing with all the Russia-related scandals. 94 percent of Mexican respondents said they opposed the construction of a wall, indicating that the issue is an extraordinarily sensitive topic among Nieto's citizens.
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