Mexican President calls off US trip over border wall spat with Trump

Mexico City, Jan 26 (IANS) Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday cancelled his trip to Washington, following US President Donald Trumps order to begin construction on the border wall.

“This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the (President of the United States),” Nieto announced via Twitter.

The announcement follows Trump’s tweet earlier saying that “If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”

On Wednesday, Trump signed executive orders to begin preparations for construction of the wall along the Mexican border – one of the new president’s key promises from the electoral campaign.

The orders also beefed up the US Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and instructed the administration to cut federal funding for “sanctuary cities” that refused to hand over illegal immigrants to law enforcement.

Trump has insisted that “Mexico would pay for the wall,” while the Mexican government has rejected any suggestion of doing so.

“I regret and condemn the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall that, for years, has divided us instead of uniting us,” Nieto said in a brief televised message to his nation on Wednesday. Mexico “will not pay for any wall,” he said.