Jared Kushner to visit Mexico amid strained US ties


Mexico City (AFP)

US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner will visit Mexico on Wednesday, the Mexican government said, against a backdrop of strained ties between the two neighbors.

The foreign ministry said Kushner would visit as Trump's "special envoy" and meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto, who reportedly canceled plans for a visit to Washington after a testy phone call last month with Trump -- the second time he has scrapped a visit over Trump's insistence that Mexico pay for his planned border wall.

US-Mexican relations have also been strained over trade issues, including Trump's insistence on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to get a "better deal" for the US and his vow to include Mexico and Canada in steep tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Kushner will also meet with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, the ministry said in a statement.

"During these meetings, the two sides will review various issues on the bilateral agenda," it said.

Kushner, the 37-year-old husband of Trump's daughter Ivanka, recently lost his top-level security clearance, raising questions about his role as one of the president's closest advisors.

The Washington Post reported that at least four foreign governments, including Mexico, had sought to leverage his business and political vulnerabilities to their own ends.

Kushner reportedly has long-standing ties with Videgaray, and the two have been in frequent contact to try to smooth relations amid Trump's repeated anti-Mexico diatribes.