Washington, Feb 25 (IANS) Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has called off an official trip to the US to meet his American counterpart Donald Trump after a tense phone call brought the two leaders to a policy-driven standstill, a White House official has confirmed.
Pena Nieto was tentatively planning the trip for March but the visit has been put on hold following the phone call which took place on February 20, the official told CNN on Saturday.
According to The Washington Post, which first reported the cancellation, officials from both countries told the daily that Pena Nieto “called off the plan after Trump would not agree to publicly affirm Mexico’s position that it would not fund construction of a border wall”.
The White House official told CNN that any meeting would be awkward and counterproductive given Trump’s vow that Mexico would pay for the wall.
The official said the call was “less hostile” than the one that occurred between the two leaders a year ago, but “no more productive” than that call either.
A Mexican official told The Washington Post that Trump “lost his temper”.
US officials described the President as being “frustrated and exasperated, saying Trump believed it was unreasonable for Pena Nieto to expect him to back off his crowd-pleasing campaign promise of forcing Mexico to pay for the wall”.
According to The Washington Post report, the two leaders “devoted a considerable portion” of this year’s call to discussing the wall.
According to the daily, officials from both countries confirmed that Pena Nieto’s “desire to avoid public embarrassment and Trump’s unwillingness to provide that assurance, proved to be the dealbreaker”.