WASHINGTON – The United States’ secretary of state will visit Mexico in the coming weeks, his Mexican counterpart told reporters on Wednesday after their meeting in Washington.
Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray, however, said Mexico was not yet ready to set a new date for a visit to the US by President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose previous trip scheduled for Jan. 30 was called off amid bilateral tensions.
Videgaray spoke to the media after a more than hour-long meeting with Rex Tillerson at the US State Department, saying the sit-down was very constructive.
He added that the two agreed to hold frequent meetings and that the next one would take place in Mexico City in the coming weeks.
On Jan. 26, Peña Nieto canceled a scheduled visit to the US after President Donald Trump signed an executive order assigning federal funds for the construction of a border wall and tweeted that it would be better to cancel his meeting with the Mexican president if Mexico was unwilling to pay for it.
Trump has repeatedly said that Mexico has taken advantage of the United States, pointing to roughly $60 billion annual trade deficits and saying the neighboring country had done little to control the flow of undocumented migrants across the US-Mexico border.
Mexico, for its part, has repeatedly vowed it will not pay for any border wall.
Videgaray said he and Tillerson spoke about existing coordination mechanisms on both immigration and the fight against organized crime and terrorism.
He also told the US secretary of state that Mexico would substantially expand its consular protection for Mexicans who may be affected by Trump’s steps to tighten the US’s immigration controls.
Regarding the process of reworking the North American Free Trade Agreement, Videgaray noted that the Mexican government first needed to consult with the Senate, the private sector and other sectors for a period of at least 90 days before starting the negotiations.
Videgaray also met Wednesday afternoon with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
Last week, a controversy erupted over press reports that Trump allegedly threatened to send troops to Mexico during a telephone conversation with Peña Nieto on Jan. 27.
Trump said in an interview with Fox News broadcast Monday that Mexico may need US assistance in fighting drug cartels.
Mexican presidential spokesman Eduardo Sanchez, however, said in a newspaper interview last week that reports about US threats to send troops south of the border were absolutely false.