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Mexican president cancels trip to Washington after row with Trump over border wall

Ronaldo Schemidt, AFP | Mexican President Pena Nieto gives a foreign policy speech in Mexico City on January 23, 2017, after US President Donald Trump vowed to start renegotiating North American trade ties.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Thursday he had scrapped plans to meet Donald Trump next week after the U.S. president tweeted Mexico should cancel the meeting if it was not prepared to pay for his proposed border wall.

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“This morning we informed the White House that I will not attend the work meeting planned for next Tuesday with the POTUS,” Pena Nieto said on Twitter, referring to Trump.

Mexico reiterates its willingness to work with the United States to reach accords that favour both nations.”

In response, President Donald Trump said that his now-scrapped meeting with the Mexican president would have been “fruitless” if Mexico will not agree to treat America “with respect.”

“The President of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting for next week,” Trump told Republican lawmakers gathered in Philadelphia for a retreat.

“Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly - with respect - such a meeting would be fruitless. And I want to go a different route,” said Trump, who wants to build a wall on the southern border of the United States. He says Mexico will pay for it but Mexico insists it will not.

Later Thursday afternoon, the White House said that Trump wants to pay for the border wall with a border tax that would be part of a tax reform package. A spokesman later said it would be funded with a 20% tax on imports from Mexico.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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