Mexico City, Mexico, Jan 11 – Mexico’s new foreign minister insisted on Tuesday that there is “no way” that his country will pay for a massive US border wall as US President-elect Donald Trump has demanded.
Luis Videgaray, who was appointed by President Enrique Pena Nieto last week to seek “constructive” relations with the Trump administration, told the Televisa network that Mexico “will not cede” on issues related to “national sovereignty.”
“The United States has the right to protect its borders. What is inadmissible, and which would deeply violate the dignity of all Mexicans, is to expect Mexico to pay for infrastructure of the United States,” Videgaray told Radio Formula in another interview.
“There is no way that this will happen,” he said.
Trump called Mexican migrants “rapists” and drug dealers during the presidential campaign and vowed to make their country pay for a massive wall across the border.
US media reported last Friday that his transition team and Republicans in Congress are considering a plan to fund the wall in April, but Trump later tweeted that Mexico would end up paying for it later.
The Republican billionaire, who takes office on January 20, has threatened to fund the wall by tapping into the billions of dollars in remittances that Mexican migrants send back home.
While Videgaray said “nobody can illegally confiscate the funds of Mexicans,” he said the negotiations with the incoming US government will also seek to “protect the free flow of remittances.”
Videgaray had resigned as finance minister in September, a week after it was revealed that he orchestrated a much-criticized pre-election meeting between Trump and Pena Nieto in Mexico City.
But Trump’s electoral victory led to Videgaray’s rehabilitation, with analysts saying his prior contacts with the Trump team could help in talks with the US administration.