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Tense phone call forces Mexican president to cancel United States trip

Tense phone call forces Mexican president to cancel United States trip

The officials wouldn't confirm a Washington Post report that the visit was called off because Trump, in a phone call with Pena Nieto last week, wouldn't agree to publicly acknowledge that Mexico won't pay for his proposed border wall.

Trump and Pena Nieto spoke on February 20, the White House said in a statement at the time.

Per the Post, both United States and Mexican officials agreed that the reason why the visit has been called off was Pena Nieto wanted to avoid "public embarrassment" and Trump wouldn't offer him that assurance.

Mexican officials had been talking about a summit between Trump and Pena Nieto in the next few weeks, without specifying when.

Trump and Nieto chose to call off the planned visit in Washington, DC, after a phone conversation about the proposed U.S. -Mexico border wall and how it would be paid for - in one way or another - by Mexico.

The phone call took place last Tuesday.

The statement said Trump underscored his commitment to expanding cooperation with Mexico on security, trade, and immigration, but did not mention a possible visit by Pena Nieto.

But The Washington Post, which first reported cancellation of the provisional meeting, said both countries agreed to call it off after a testy telephone call ended in an impasse over the border barrier.

Trump's promise to make Mexico pay billions of dollars for a wall to stop illegal immigration was a central platform of his presidential campaign, which he began by labelling some Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists.

Mexico goes to the polls this July as Pena Nieto approaches the end of his term, with his Institutional Revolutionary Party deeply unpopular. They later sat down at the Group of 20 meetings in Hamburg, Germany in July.

"The fact is, we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall", Trump told Peña Nieto, according to a transcript of the call.

Trump's refusal to back down to Mexico on the border wall has been ongoing during his time as president.

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