President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto did not discuss the US plan to build a wall on the US-Mexican border during bilateral talks Friday at the G20 conference in Hamburg, Germany, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said.
“The issue of the wall was not discussed, it was not part of the conversation,” Videgaray told reporters after the meeting, adding that the US and Mexico share a “complex relationship with many, many issues.” The foreign minister said the leaders’ conversation centered around the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement between US, Mexico, and Canada.
Trump on Friday reaffirmed his plans to build a Mexican border wall, saying he “absolutely” still wants Mexico to pay for the wall despite Peña Nieto’s repeated refusals to fund the project.
Trump said the two made “very good progress” during their meeting discussing NAFTA and “some other things with Mexico” during what he called a “very interesting” first day of the G20 conference. Peña Nieto also reaffirmed the need to continue a “flowing dialogue” — especially in regard to NAFTA talks — “for the security of both nations and especially our borders.”
The two have exchanged a war of words since Trump took office earlier this year about whether Mexico would fund the wall Trump hopes to build on the border.
Back in January, Peña Nieto canceled a meeting with Trump after continued tensions over the idea that Mexico would pay for the border wall. The two spoke on the phone instead, but agreed they would not speak publicly about the wall at the time.
“Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said time again; Mexico will not pay for any wall,” the Mexican president said in a video statement posted to Twitter and translated by CNN from Spanish in January.
Trump has threatened to use tariffs against Mexican imports and to withdraw from NAFTA, though the Trump administration earlier this year signaled it may not seek a wholesale rewrite.
Trump’s meeting with Peña Nieto came shortly before his highly anticipated first bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.