Mexico reviews cooperation with US over ‘blatant’ tension

Mexico reviews cooperation with US over 'blatant' tension

Mexico City (AFP) – Mexico is carrying out a sweeping review of its cooperation with the neighboring United States because of “blatant” tension with Donald Trump’s administration, the foreign minister said Monday.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has ordered all departments of the federal government to reevaluate bilateral cooperation, his office said — a review Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said was a direct response to recent tension.

Trump has stoked anger in Mexico by ordering thousands of National Guard troops to the border and attacking the Mexican government on Twitter over its supposed failure to stop an influx of drugs and undocumented migrants into the United States.

Videgaray said the areas under review would include the vital issues of trade and the two countries’ extensive cooperation on security, which includes the joint fight against international drug trafficking.

“Given the current climate and the very public and blatant differences we currently have with the government of the United States, President Enrique Pena Nieto will be taking decisions,” Videgaray told Mexican radio network Formula.

He said the president had not yet taken any decision to suspend or reduce cooperation in any area. But he left the possibility on the table, with a veiled warning to Trump.

“We are entering an evaluation phase, and it must be an ongoing evaluation of the facts as they stand,” he said.

A visibly offended Pena Nieto gave a national address Thursday after Trump announced his decision to deploy the National Guard to the border, warning Trump that “threatening attitudes and a lack of respect” were out of line.

The latest rise in US-Mexican tension began with days of angry tweets from Trump over a caravan of more than 1,000 Central American migrants crossing Mexico toward the United States.

Trump called on the Mexican government to stop them, threatening to axe what he called Mexico’s “cash cow,” the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The US last year triggered a renegotiation of that deal, which also includes Canada, after Trump called it a “disaster.” Those negotiations continue.

The migrant caravan, however, has now begun breaking up. Organizers announced last week they would no longer seek to bring the group all the way to the US border. It will end its activities this week with a series of rallies and meetings in Mexico City.

Relations have been tense since Trump won election in 2016 with a campaign heavy on anti-Mexican rhetoric and promises to build a border wall.

Pena Nieto has twice canceled plans to visit Washington over Trump’s ongoing insistence that Mexico pay for the wall.